The Graces, er, the Saints topple West Grand
Vail Christian ups record to 3-0
Keep swinging, Grace. Nice pass, Gracie. Way to go, Grace.
All of the above were uttered in the proper spirit from the crowd during Vail Christian volleyball’s 25-15, 25-19, 24-26, 25-10 victory over West Grand as the Saints moved to 3-0 on Friday night.
The only problem: To which Grace are you referring? Half of the starting lineup for Vail Christian is named Grace or Gracie.
“We use last names,” Saints junior setter Gracie Allen said.
Points to Miss Allen for practicality. The only problem is that if one calls sophomore Grace Engleby by her last initial, like, “Hey, Grace E,” we’re back to square one on the Grace front. (In fairness, we shouldn’t be surprised that a parochial school has a bunch of Graces. It makes sense.)
So to clarify, Grace McCurdy.is a senior and the middle blocker. Gracie Allen is a junior and the setter. Grace Engleby is sophomore and an outside hitter. Throw in two Kendell(e)s — Kendelle Smith and Kendall Barela, not mention a few other names and Vail Christian has a fun volleyball team.
“We have a variety of players,” Saints coach Adina Petersmeyer said. “We have a deep bench on both varsity and JV. As we build the confidence in our younger players, the sky’s the limit.”
Art and volleyball
The bigger question might be, “Is the future now?” Truthfully, we don’t know the answer. A 3-0 record is certainly nice and definitely beats the alternatives. The Fighting Graces, er, Saints, though have an intriguing mix of experience and skill.
With McCurdy and Smith, you have established boppers. Young Engleby, Vail Christian’s third from that family, makes that a three-headed monster for opponents.
A serious volleyball fan would say, “Whatever, three hitters doesn’t a team make. They have to rotate in back, smart guy. What do you do then.”
You get your Vermeer out. We’re not talking painter, but Payton Vermeer, sophomore middle blocker. When the Graces (Engleby and McCurdy) rotate back, Petersmeyer has the luxury of taking a 6-footer off the bench to put up front. Not many teams can do that.
“Payton didn’t grow physically in the last year. She grew emotionally and mentally,” Petersmeyer said. “She had an active club season and proved she belongs here.”
Truth be told, Petersmeyer sees Vermeer and fellow soph Daisy Palacio as the future of the team at middle block. The coach was also playing freshmen Logan Nobrega and Kendall Barela in critical situations during Games 2 and 4. The freshmen and other youngsters are being thrown into the deep end of the pool and they’re swimming.
While the future is looking bright, no one is giving up on 2021. McCurdy, who is transitioning from basketball to volleyball may never leave the gym, but she doesn’t care.
“Honestly, I love it,” McCurdy said of her life in sports. “I’d much rather be here playing and dancing than being at home.”
For the record, when not scoring baskets, rebounding and/or beating volleyballs into submission, McCurdy enjoys jamming to the tunes in the gym and moving along with the notes. The way she plays in either sport, let her dance.
Meanwhile, Allen is having the time of her life with so many options when it’s her turn to set.
“They’re all different hitters who do different things,” Allen said. “It’s so much fun.”
Vail Christian heads to Rangely Saturday for a COVID doubleheader. The Saints will face both Caprock Academy and Rangely.