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Sophomores all-league for VMS volleyball

The Vail Mountain School volleyball team had three all-leaguers in 2003.

They are all sophomores.

Think head coach Mike Garvey and company are excited about next season?



Yep.

“You don’t get that opportunity too many times,” Garvey said. “We’ve dealt with that before where we’ve had a team that’s run through for a couple of years, and that’s what we’re dealing with now.”



The team to which Garvey is referring is the 2002 squad, whose heart was Lara “Tree” Bossow, Maggie Haslee, Tiffany Allan and Juli Littman. They rolled to two state-playoff appearances and put VMS volleyball on the map.

This year’s threesome of all-leaguers – Aubrie Apple, Cely Brinkmann and Lindsay Wright – wouldn’t mind a repeat of that scenario. Both Garvey and the trio think it’s a distinct possibility.

“I think there’s huge potential,” Apple said. “I think we’re all very psyched. We’re all improving a lot. And, I think, this winter with club (play), a few of us will really improve. There’s definitely a lot of promise.”



“Definitely. There’s a lot of opportunity,” Garvey said. “You’re able to look back as best you can and make judgements of how players are. And this group is perhaps more skilled than the group that has left. And, that’s just due to starting at a younger age and having more opportunities to work with good players. As the program develops, each younger player is going to get more opportunities to play at a higher level.”

The 2001 and 2002 teams definitely raised the standard for VMS volleyball. And, to certain extent, that was unfair to the 2003 edition. After the previous two seasons, 12-10 and not advancing to districts might seem to be a down year.

Not so.

First the 12-10 record is deceiving. Against 1A teams, VMS went 11-2. The Gore Rangers played a really tough nonconference schedule and, while that doesn’t do you any favors when it comes to your record, it pays off down the road.

Those eight nonconference losses came to 4A Delta (twice), 4A Moffat, Eagle Valley, Hotchkiss and Aspen – the top three teams in the 3A Slope – and 2A Meeker and Hayden. That’s a Notre Dame-style schedule for a 1A volleyball school.

Second, when you suffer graduation losses as VMS did this year, it’s unreasonable to expect a sophomore-driven team to go back to state automatically. But, the Gore Rangers nearly did it, thanks in large part to the sophomore trio.

For Apple, it’s her second selection in as many years to the all-league team. While pounding the ball into submission was her most visible skill, Garvey appreciated her burgeoning leadership skills, especially by example.

“She was someone you could relate to,” Garvey said. “If you asked “Am I working hard enough,” all you had to do was peak over at Aubrie and, if you were keeping up with her, you were doing all right.”

This is Wright’s first selection and she was pumped when she got her medal Monday.

“It was unbelievable. Our team has gotten so far. It was so nice to get that achievement,” Wright said. “We’re just a fun group. We’ve always been together. We will always be together.”

Togetherness is one of the qualities Wright brought to the team. Both middle hitters, Wright and Apple gave the VMS attack balance.

“Lindsay did a great job in the defensive part of the game,” Garvey said. “She did a great job both in the front and the back row. We had a lot of balance in that we always had Aubrie or Lindsay in the front row. We could get combinations with other players coming around, but that provided a lot of consistency for us.”

Brinkmann provided the spark for the Gore Rangers, leading off with her powerful serves and finishing with her kills. The difference this year, though, Garvey says was in her approach to her attacks.

“She learned how to attack without power,” Garvey said. “That was something that previously was not one of her tactics. It was great to see her learn some new shots this year that could get her kills without having to hit the ball hard. Ultimately, the goal is to make the ball hit the floor. It doesn’t matter how fast it’s going.”

“It’s extremely exciting because we got to show everyone that we can do just as well,” Brinkmann said. “The next two years are going to be phenomenal because we have a lot of eighth-graders coming up. We are looking to have a great year next year.”

Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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