State in mind, Vail Christian heads to regionals
EDWARDS – Pick a story line. They’re all good when it comes to Vail Christian volleyball.
“It would mean a lot to me. Halfway through last year, I hurt my knee and I wasn’t able to play,” said Vail Christian senior Tracey Salgado, who still wears a brace on her left knee. “It would mean a great deal. It’s my senior year. It would be great to leave the team after going to state.”
“My goal this weekend is to play for the seniors, who won’t get another chance to go to state,” sophomore middle-blocker Paris Baker said. “I want to play for the juniors and the freshmen.”
Then there’s the setter who’s seen her mom, aka Coach, take previous Saints teams to state. Kylie Alexander doubtless wants to be playing on the floor of the Denver Coliseum herself.
How about Dakota Francis? The youngest of her family to go to Vail Christian (Jaryd and Sammantha), she wouldn’t mind ending high school volleyball down in Denver.
There’s more, but the Region A Volleyball Tournament starts Saturday for the Saints (19-4). Vail Christian starts with Sierra Grande at 10 a.m. down in Gunnison. Then, the Saints play Norwood and Mountain Valley back-to-back at around 1:45 and 3 p.m.
The top-two teams from this foursome go to the Denver Coliseum next week for the big dance.
The Saints don’t know much about Sierra Grande or Mountain Valley out of District 6 – said group merges with District 1, home of the Saints and Norwood, to form Region A.
“Basically, we have to go in take care of the ball on our side, make good decisions and see what happens,” Vail Christian coach Cathy Alexander said.
Vail Christian does know Norwood. The Saints gained some ground on the Mavericks last weekend, winning Game 1 of their match and taking Norwood to 27 points in Game 2 before falling in four sets.
Likely, the key for the Saints and their state hopes is how they handle the ebb and flow of the day. Vail Christian hopes to take care of business against Sierra Grande, the opener of the tournament. Then, the Saints will watch the Norwood-Mountain Valley game to scout the two teams.
Emotions will be high for Vail Christian as it faces Norwood for the third time. What’s crucial is that – win or lose against the Navs- the Saints find an even keel to play Mountain Valley in the next match.
“We’ve got to keep that light switch on because you’re not really playing to beat Norwood. You’re playing to get to state,” said Alexander, who led the Saints to the Denver Coliseum in 2006 and 2007. “I’ve been doing is trying to talk them through that situation. I can’t produce it or provide it. I’ve told them to mentally visualize it. I’ve told them to visualize playing at a high level for (a possible) 15 games on Saturday.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.
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