Palisade beats Eagle Valley volleyball in 4 games on Senior Night
EDWARDS — The 4A Western Slope volleyball race is officially wide open.
Palisade knocked off Eagle Valley, 25-23, 25-7, 23-25, 25-19, on Thursday, Oct. 12, wrecking the Devils’ Senior Night and giving the Bulldogs a tenuous hold on first place.
Palisade is 8-1 in the 4A Slope, with Eagle Valley and Glenwood Springs both at 7-2. While every league match is critical, the Bulldogs are at Glenwood on Thursday, Oct. 19.
“We looked at it as an opportunity for us to control our own destiny,” Palisade coach Wendy MacAskill said. “We just wanted to go out and play our game. We felt we kind of let them off the hook when they were at our place. So, we felt like we wanted to come back in and show we can play and compete against every team in the league.”
Meanwhile, Eagle Valley has had a rough week. The Devils entered it with a chance to sew up back-to-back league titles, but after losses to both Bulldogs and Glenwood, are scrambling a bit, heading into the stretch run of the regular season.
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“It was unforced errors again,” Devils coach Jackie Rindy said. “The second set was nothing like our volleyball. But Palisade’s a good team, a great team. That’s why the league is so knotted up with the three teams.”
Errors doom Devils
Eagle Valley was out of sorts in part because of an injury to senior setter Erin Keeney (ankle). In fact, rolled ankles seem to be a trendy thing this time of season for Eagle Valley (10-6 overall and 7-2 in the league). Last year, setter Molly Jewett rolled her ankle around this time of year.
While Bree Gates and Sky Lieurance did their best to fill in, even when the sets were good, Eagle Valley was off on Thursday and they Devils dug themselves into a 2-0 hole.
Defensive-specialist Sydney Manzanares got the first official start of her career on Senior Night — at outside hitter. While Manzanares is slightly vertically-challenged for that spot on the court, she helped rally her team in the third set.
After taking a nasty fall, she returned to the court, and Eagle Valley erased deficits of 10-6 and 13-10 to stretch the match to four games.
In the end, Alexandra MacAskill and Emily Tucker were too much, combining for 34 kills during the match.
Before the game, the Devils honored their seniors. They are Jillian Byron, Emma Lassa, Haley Carpenter, Briana Lopez, Manzanares, Keeney and Eli Lubbers.
“They’re a great group of kids. This is the first time they’ve lost in this gym in two years. They’re going to great things in college. I couldn’t ask for better seniors,” Rindy said.
The Devils are at Grand Valley on Tuesday, Oct. 17.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.