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The 2007 (ahem) Huskies are ready

SPT State VB Feature PU 11-7-07
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EAGLE-VAIL ” If Battle Mountain volleyball had a nickel for every time coach Brian Doyon talked about repeating as state champions, the Huskies would own the Denver Coliseum, instead of being one of eight 4A teams competing there Friday and Saturday.

“Coach says we’re not necessarily defending anything because we have all new people,” senior Jen Thul said. “This is a rebuilding year.”

In that case, most teams would love to rebuild with a 23-3 record, but we get the point. The crew that heads down to the Coliseum this November is a distinctly different one than last year’s team.

One of the major reasons the Huskies are back for a third year in a row is their quartet of seniors ” Devon Abbott, Alexa Corcoran, Kori Landauer and Thul. They were on last year’s state-title squad, and yet they have helped the Huskies find their own identity.

“I definitely had to accept the fact that I wasn’t Britney Brown,” said Corcoran, who inherited Brown’s duties at setter this year, no small feat. “I did that. I got used to knowing my team and doing what I could do to our advantage and do things for our skills. I definitely knew I had some big shoes to fill. I took that and I worked really hard.”

The seniors speak of their teammates of last year with fondness and respect, but also with the realization that by moving from the back row to right-side hitter that Landauer is not trying to become the next Crystin Rodrick, but the next, well, Kori Landauer.

“It took a little while for us to realize that we weren’t last year’s team,” Landauer said. “It was a great experience playing with all those girls. Coming into this year, we had to take what those girls have taught us and play it from there. Then we became this team.”

‘Good enough’

Battle Mountain volleyball’s Class of 2008 showed its talent early. As JV players, they went undefeated in 2004. While Abbot had dressed with the varsity her freshman year, it wasn’t until the next fall that the foursome started to get the call to prime time.

Abbott made her debut in Greeley in 2005.

“Everyone comes toward you and is like, ‘Calm down,'” Abbott said. “In the middle of the game, they could tell.”

“I remember looking down at my leg and my whole leg was shaking,” Landauer said.

“You can’t believe you’re actually playing on the court,” Thul recalled.

Corcoran was watching all this her sophomore year. She was the last of the taxi squad to get the call.

“I was the last one waiting,” Corcoran said. “I think I got some court time. I don’t know who (we were playing). You’re so nervous. You don’t want to let anyone down. You don’t know if you’re good enough.”

Despite early anxiety ” Landauer joked that her leg stopped shaking last season ” these ladies have proven more than being “good enough.”

Abbott was not an unknown quantity, especially after last year’s state tournament performance against Sterling. She’s blossomed into one of the best players in the state.

Landauer has likely had the most tortuous road. She’s played varsity the last two years as a defensive specialist and libero. This year, Doyon switched her to outside hitter.

“It definitely was a big switch,” Landauer said. “Last year, I got the occasional one hit in practice. This year hitting, I had to rebuild everything. It’s definitely a different mindset. I definitely love defense. It’s where my heart lies.”

Nevertheless, Corcoran described Landauer last week as one of the team’s most dependable hitters.

Corcoran and Thul both got opportunities to start last year. They made the most of their opportunities and are among the best at their positions in 2007.

Appreciation and urgency

The four seniors have been a constant through the milestones of the program. While none of them expected high school volleyball to be quite like it has been, they started seeing the signs. For Abbott, going from being eliminated from districts her sophomore year to the Coliseum floor a year later was an eye-popper.

Landauer saw something as the Huskies swept districts and regionals least year. For Thul, it was beating Doherty this season. And now, the quartet has helped Battle Mountain to its third-straight state tournament, a first for the school.

“I’ve been so fortunate to have this opportunity to be in this program,” Corcoran said. “I never thought I’d be playing state volleyball.”

“I am really lucky to be in the spot that I am, the place I’m at,” Abbott said. “I’ve gone (to state) my sophomore, my junior and senior year. A lot of schools don’t do that. It’s just amazing we can go.”

While the quartet is excited to be going again, this one’s special. They are the seniors this time around. This their shot.

“I know that this is the last chance we’ll have to go to the Coliseum,” Landauer said. “I know that we have to bring everything and leave it all on the court because this is the last time we’ll play.”

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.

4A State Tournament

Pool I (seed)

Berthoud (1) 26-0

Montrose (4) 18-8

Mountain View (5) 22-4

Longmont (8) 21-5

Pool II (seed)

Cheyenne Mountain (2) 24-2

Regis (3) 22-4

Battle Mountain (6) 23-3

Cherokee Trail (7) 21-5

Friday’s Games

Montrose vs. Mountain View, 8 a.m.

Battle Mountain vs. Regis, 9:30 a.m. (approx.)

Berthoud vs. Longmont

Cheyenne Mountain Cherokee Trail

Montrose vs. Longmont

Regis vs. Cherokee Trail

Berthoud vs. Mountain View

Battle Mountain vs. Cheyenne Mountain, 6:30 p.m. (approx.)

Saturday’s Games

Mountain View vs. Longmont, 8 a.m.

Battle Mountain Cherokee Trail, 9:30 a.m. (approx.)

Berthoud vs. Montrose

Cheyenne Mountain vs. Regis

Semifinals ” Pool I ” No. 1 vs. Pool II ” No. 2, 2:30 p.m. (approx.)

Semifinals ” Pool II” No. 1 vs. Poll I ” No. 2, 4 p.m. (approx.)

Championship, 7 p.m.


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