Shreeve, Devils let their play do the talking
Kenzie Shreeve is the best volleyball player in the valley, but you won’t hear it come out of her mouth.
It’s hard just to get Shreeve to talk about herself at all, in fact. The offensive catalyst behind the eighth-ranked Devils attack, Shreeve doesn’t much like to talk about her usual 20-plus kills, or her overpowering jump-serve when it comes to postgame interviews, usually deferring to her teammates for answers.
“On the court, you have to be loud, and let your teammates know you are ready for a ball,” said Shreeve, squirming a tad as she talks into a tape recorder at practice on Wednesday. “But off the court, I am a little quiet, I guess.”
A little is an understatement.
But make no mistake though – even though Shreeve doesn’t like answering questions after games – she definitely has been the Devils’ answer all season long, and looks to continue the trend this weekend when the Devils travel to Central High School in Grand Junction for the District 2 Tournament.
“Kenzie does really well as the go-to person, even though she is really shy, and she doesn’t talk as much,” said senior captain Trista Sandoval. “She really expresses herself in her actions. I think she shows leadership qualities by the way she plays.”
Eagle Valley setter Whitney Donahue, whose assists have been the bread to Shreeve’s butter all year, agrees, stating that a good leader doesn’t necessarily have to be a vocal one.
“Some people don’t have to say anything, you can see it in their eyes and the way they play,” said Donahue. “It’s just there.”
As the Devils prepare to make another run at state, starting with the district tournament this weekend, coach Karl Talcott acknowledges that unselfishness is the mark of a good team, and that the chemistry of Shreeve with the rest of her teammates will be one of their biggest assets as they head into postseason play.
“The chemistry has been outstanding. It’s been the best it has ever been this year.” said Talcott. “I am just exceptionally proud of the way that the girls have hung together. How they have put some personal off-court differences behind them, have put some personal needs behind them, to make sure that we’re getting the best effort on the court.”
“Chemistry is something that just has to happen. It’s not something that you can make,” added Donahue. “All the talent is not going to go anywhere if you don’t have your teammates and you don’t have chemistry. Our chemistry is just there.”
Eagle Valley will open the tournament pool play Friday night as the No. 1-seed against Olathe. On Saturday the Devils will play either No. 4-seed Roaring Fork or No. 5-seed Aspen, depending on who wins head to head play between those two. If the Devils are to advance to the regional tournament, they have to secure either the one or two position coming out of pool play and then win the crossover match between the one or two out of the other pool.
Talcott and the rest of Devils feel confident, despite a deep district pool, that they will again advance, as they did last year.
“We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of good breaks this season, and we’ve been fortunate to create a lot of our own breaks this season,” said Talcott. “I think that’s the mark of a team that is on the borderline between good and becoming great – that they are creating more of their opportunities.”
Nate Peterson is a sports writer for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 608 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.