Saints win first league match
EDWARDS – Lauren Mutter is someone who’s not afraid to get her stomach dirty. Mutter’s many digs paired with the overall focus of the Vail Christian volleyball team gave it the extra dose of force that allowed it to snag the Game 5 win against Ouray Saturday.”I like to go crazy out on the court and sacrifice my body,” said Mutter, who, regardless of where the ball was on the court, consistently skidded after it head-first.”When I’m in the game, I don’t really think about anything besides volleyball, so I just sacrifice my body.”As soon as the game kicked off Saturday, it looked as if the Saints would have to sacrifice more than that.Ouray pulled ahead 5-0 within three minutes of the first game as the Saints started off putting a little too much power into its serves and spikes. Then, Kaley Hagerman put the first point on the board with a bullet-like serve, which was reinforced on the next return with a power spike from Meghan Struve.Bradie Beagley steered the Saints into their first lead with a trio of skin-reddening serves, one of which bounced off the arms of the would-be returner and continued with a “boom” into the back wall. Nicole Parker continued the trend when on her serve, and led the Saints to a 25-22 Game 1 win.”Ouray showed up and did a lot more than we expected,” said Vail Christian head coach Cathy Alexander. “So, we had to step it up right from the beginning. Fortunately in practice, we worked on coming from behind, so it paid off.”In Game 2, it looked as if the Saints had it made. Beagley and Mutter got into step with an onslaught of spikes, and Mutter rescued a wayward bunt, keeping it in play with an out-of-bounds dig. She popped up in time to tip in the return for a point. The attack led to a 25-14 Game 2 victory.In Game 3, however, Ouray proved it wasn’t going to go down without a fight. Although the Saints started off with the lead, the scoreboard started moving in slow motion. It was 5-6, then 6-6, then 7-6, then 7-7. Slowly, despite a couple of forceful blocks from Rachel Glandorf and some nicely set-up bunt returns from Struve, who always seemed to be calmly waiting under the ball, Ouray pulled ahead and won, 25-20.The duel of rallies began and seemed to end one-by-one in Game 4 with well-placed pats over the net from both teams. Still, Ouray came out on top 25-22. The Saints were not intimidated by the comeback going into Game 5.”We practiced really hard on brushing everything off and that’s what we were working on,” Parker said. “It helps.”As Ouray scrambled and lost positions after blocks and digs, trying to keep the ball alive, the Saints never lost track of it and settled instantly back into place after every scramble. Ouray fought hard enough to answer almost every point, but it was obvious who had control of the game. “We just focused on intensity and just being a team more than anything,” Parker said. The Saints broke away by two points as the buzzer sounded and clinched the win, 15-13.”We just stayed focused,” Mutter said. “We wanted it more. I think our team is really pushing hard this year. We want to be first in league, and if we want to be first, we’re going to have to push it.”The Saints host Vail Mountain Tuesday at 6 p.m. at St. Clare in Edwards.