Nothing but points: Devils win in four
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM ” In case you didn’t check your calendar, this is about that time of year when Eagle Valley volleyball makes its run.
And even if you did know, the Devils’ dominating performance Tuesday in Gypsum against Palisade was a pleasant affirmation.
With a relentless offensive attack, a well-positioned defense and a precision serving game, Eagle Valley dismissed Palisade, 25-15, 26-24, 18-25, 25-15, and moved back into the middle of the 4A Western Slope standings.
“That was fun,” said Eagle Valley middle hitter Angela Phillips, who closed out the match on a kill. “We’re finally clicking.”
Palisade didn’t play poorly or commit many errors; the Bulldogs just couldn’t quite get things rolling against a charged-up Eagle Valley squad.
“It seemed almost easy,” Crawford said of his team’s offense. “Palisade gets a lot of balls up in the air and our girls were continuing to pound. And they were breaking it up into a tip every once in a while when (Palisade) wasn’t expecting it.”
The Devils strung together long rallies most of the match, thanks, in part, to a solid night serving. Eagle Valley only had two serving errors and collected 10 aces.
“That goes to momentum,” Crawford said. “When you don’t miss serves, it’s a lot easier to score points.”
In Game 1, Eagle Valley’s Kelsey Foster went back to serve with her team up, 17-15 and picked up three aces ” two on short serves ” as the Devils closed out the game without giving up another point. Then, in Game 4, Phillips went to the line with the Devils leading, 12-8, and helped her team earn an insurmountable 17-8 lead with a flurry of accurate serve, including two aces.
“I realized some of my other teammates were hitting short serves, so then I said, ‘OK, we’ll that got them, so I’ll do a short serve, then a deep serve, then a short serve,'” Phillips said.
Palisade’s offense came alive in the second and third games, but when the Bulldogs big middle hitter Bernadette Pitre went to the bench, the kills dropped off.
“In the past we’ve been able to rely on a few other people to step up when Bernadette is not in there,” said Palisade coach Wendy MacAskill. “Tonight the other hitters weren’t on their game. (Eagle Valley) was able to make runs when she was on the bench.”
And late in the match, when Pitre came back in, the Devils found a way to stop her.
“We were trying to figure her out in the first game ” where she hits, what her tendencies were ” and I think we got in her way a bunch and got some hands on the ball,” Crawford said.
Pitre finished with a game-high 13 kills and five blocks.
During several matches this season, the Devils have won the first game or two, only to see their opponents come back. Despite a small lapse in the third game, Eagle Valley wasn’t about to let Palisade steal a win.
“There was a different feeling,” Crawford said. “Even at the end of Game 3, when we were losing, we were still pretty convinced we were going to win Game 4. It was nice to feel that way.”
“I think (Eagle Valley) did a good job of carrying the momentum from Game 1 and Game 2,” MacAskill said. “We had a nice comeback, but we weren’t able to carry it over as well as they were throughout the match.”
The match had plenty of hard-fought points with players diving on first, second and third hits.
“I thought their defense was really good,” MacAskill said. “We had a hard time getting kills on them tonight. Part of it was lack of aggressiveness from our hitters, but also, they did a great job defensively getting balls up.”
Eagle Valley outside hitter and setter Whitney VanVoorst led the Devils with 12 kills, while middle Ashley Rohweder used her vertical to collect 10.
“Coach Sean Weatherhead told (Ashley) to hit it to the angels, and she did and got a lot of kills,” Crawford said.
Phillips also had a great night in the middle, picking up five kills and a few blocks.
“Angela and Ashley were putting the balls where they had to,” Crawford said.
Foster, the other Eagle Valley setter and outside hitter, had a great all-around match, picking up nine kills. After sustaining an ankle injury early in the season, Foster has come back and put a spark into the Devils lineup.
“Her ankle isn’t perfect, but her hands are still good,” Crawford said. “She’s really helped us out.”
With the win, Eagle Valley moves to 4-7 in league, while Palisade drops to 4-6. Thursday, the Devils travel to Delta.
Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or email@example.com.