Saints, Gore Rangers ready for home stretch
VAIL, Colorado – We interrupt the incessant nattering of local soccer fans trying to figure out the all the possible permutations of results involving Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley, Glenwood Springs and Steamboat Springs to point out that there is pretty cool race shaping up in 2A Slope volleyball.
If the season were to end today, the final game of pool play at districts in two weeks would be Vail Christian in Edwards, Colorado, against the Vail Mountain School in Vail, Colorado. There – that might have snapped you out of calculating what happens if every remaining soccer game ends in a tie and there’s a lunar eclipse.
The 2A Saints and Gore Rangers are starting to make some noise and have some big games on the horizon. Vail Christian (14-1 overall and 6-0 against 2A district opponents) knocked off Rangely, 25-23, 18-25, 25-23, 25-18. Meanwhile Vail Mountain (8-7, 3-3) pushed Paonia, which trails only the Saints in the league standings, to five games before falling, 21-25, 22, 26-24, 25-21, 9-15.
Vail Christian overcame its toughest road trip of the regular season – Rangely’s just 10 miles from Utah – to down the Panthers in four.
“We had a slow start and, by about the end of the second game, we started to click,” Saints coach Cathy Alexander said. “There were a few long rallies in the second game and that got us going.”
Brooke Bowles struggled early for the Saints, but fellow senior Beri Dwyer picked her up on offense, always a good sign. By the final two games everyone in Vail Christian blue and silver was on the same page and the Saints rolled.
Dwyer led the Saints with 14 kills, while Bowles rallied for 13. Dwyer and Kylie Alexander led the squad in blocks, while Alexander set up successful attacks 35 times.
Vail Christian’s next game is an intriguing one – at North Park on Saturday. The Wildcats handed Vail Christian its only loss so far in 2009 at the season-opening Grand Valley Tournament.
“They’ve beaten a lot of teams – Meeker, West Grand, Soroco,” Cathy Alexander said. “They’re not real flashy. They don’t make mistakes. They’re sort of like DeBeque (used to be). Nothing hits the ground.”
After North Park, the Saints are at home Tuesday for Plateau Valley, Friday for Soroco and Saturday against Paonia. While Alexander wants her charges focused on the task at hand, wins against Plateau Valley and Paonia would give Vail Christian a 2A Slope title, and more importantly, protected status for the upcoming district tournament. Being protected means that a team advances to regionals regardless of its result in districts.
For those with older schedules, the game against Paonia Oct. 24 is now at 1:30 p.m., to be followed by Vail Christian football at 3 p.m. in Gypsum against Faith Baptist as a part of Homecoming.
VMS, baring some surprising developments among Vail Christian, Paonia and Rangely, will likely enter the postseason no higher than in fourth place. But there’s reason for optimism in East Vail.
The Gore Rangers are healthy for the first time this season after dealing with the flu with appropriate caution.
“We’re really trying to carry a lot of momentum into the district tournament,” VMS coach Mike Garvey said. “We feel we’re competitive with the best teams, but it’s one thing talking about it and another thing doing it. We have to have great practices and matches until districts before we have that opportunity.”
VMS stretched Paonia to five games Tuesday, despite not putting its best foot forward in the first two games of the match, according to Garvey. One bright spot was the play of Kristiana Bock at middle block. She had her best game of the season against the Eagles or, perhaps, that should be rephrased.
“She’s been competing for a starting spot,” Garvey said. “When we told her that she played her best game of the season (Tuesday), she told us she played her best game of the season so far. I really like that type of attitude.”
VMS is at DeBeque Friday and at Meeker Saturday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.