Saints get first win in new home
EDWARDS, Colorado “-Vail Christian volleyball can finally call its new gym home.
Yes, the Saints opened the building nearly two weeks ago, but Friday night the spikers finally ” yes, 13 days seems like a long time ” got their first win in their new digs by downing Soroco in five, 21-25, 25-22, 25-19, 21-25, 15-10.
“We do feel at home,” Saints coach Cathy Alexander. “We got the monkey off our back. Hopefully it will make a difference, and we can start playing here like we do on the road. I think we were wanting to win here so badly that we were a bit tentative.”
“The pressure adding up of not winning here and our being used to winning was disappointing,” Saints senior Allie Parker said. “That’s a hard obstacle to get over, but I think we’re doing it at last.”
Whatever one’s theory, it was a memorable moment for those in the Mutter Dome/King Dome/Topper Centre/Charlie Alexander Pole-Vaulting Pavilion.
‘Old’ and new
Cathy Alexander, who is not in favor of pole vaulting in the new building, did some serious tinkering with her team as the game progressed. She inserted three freshmen ” Ashlyn Gruber at left-side hitter, McKenzie O’Brien at libero and Kylie Alexander at setter.
There were two purposes to these moves. First, as the coach has said early and often this season, this year is a transitional one and she wants to get the younger players experience. The moves also freed up junior Brook Bowles to hit up front.
Combining the young Saints with “the grizzled veterans,” like Sammantha Francis, who had a game-high 15 kills, Parker and Beri Dwyer, spelled victory for Vail Christian.
In the fifth game, Gruber had two big attacks and then served the Saints to an 8-1 lead. Soroco, as had been the case all night, did not go quietly however.
Just as a member of the Parker or Francis family is required to play in any Vail Christian sporting event, so is a Rossi for the Rams. Sarajane Rossi led Soroco back to within 12-10 with a block before two attacks from Francis and a Gruber block sealed the Saints’ fourth win of the season and their first 2A Slope victory.
“This was the maturity we were looking for,” Cathy Alexander said. “They handled the pressure. We’ve been to Game 5 three of four times, and this is the first one we’ve won.”
If Vail Christian had its way, there wouldn’t have been a fifth game. Up 2-1, the Saints had a 12-6 advantage in the fourth until the Rams came storming back.
“I’m so proud of the girls,” Soroco coach Kim Reeves said. “They just kept fighting so hard. They were in a hole and they stepped it up.”
The Rams scored 12 of the next 13 points for an 18-13 lead. Vail Christian rallied, but Rossi ended the game with a back-row attack.
Soroco is back home for Homecoming today at 4:30 p.m. against Meeker. Meanwhile, Vail Christian begins a stretch of rivalry games. DeBeque comes to the new gym today at 1 p.m. for the first Saints-Dragons game as a 2A Slope match-up.
On Tuesday, the Saints head to East Vail for the renewal of the Blue-Vail Rivalry against the Vail Mountain School.
“We’re obviously going to be focusing on DeBeque, but we’re still going to have Vail Mountain in the back of our minds,” Parker said.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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