The King of the Mountain’s queens |

The King of the Mountain’s queens

Vail Daily/Shane Macomber From left, Vail's Lara Bossow and Steamboat Springs' Katie Carter are teaming up in the Women's Open division of this weekend's King of the Mountain Volleyball Tournament.

Vail’s Lara “Tree” Bossow and Steamboat Springs’ Katie Carter haven’t seen each other for more than a year, but don’t expect them to be rusty when they start playing together today in the Women’s Open division of the King of the Mountain volleyball tournament. The two have been friends since their club-volleyball days in high school and have kept in touch this past year during what was their first year of college volleyball.Bossow earned her stripes at CU, while Carter – 2002’s Denver Post Player of the Year – got acquainted with the college game at UCLA.So, even though both said that they were just getting together this weekend to catch up and have some fun playing together, don’t expect them not to make a run at the women’s title. Bossow and Carter are polished veterans when it comes to lacing balls over the net, but they may be even more refined when taking turns downtalking their goals for the tourney.”It’s all for fun,” Bossow said. “I mean obviously we’re really competitive people, so it’d be great to win it. But at the same time, we’re just going out there to keep touching balls and have fun with it.”Added Carter, “I’m really out there to work on some things that I need to work on. We got to talking about doing it, and just thought it would be fun to play together. Basically, we’re going to have to work on placement of the ball. We need to play smart. We can’t just rely on our powerhouse hitting like we always have.”If the two ever need it, though, the powerhouse “stuff” should be there. Carter goes 6-foot-3 and is a ferocious hitter who saw her share of minutes this year at UCLA as a middle blocker. She finished the season with 71 kills and 33 blocks for a total of 225.5 points, sixth-best on the team. The Bruins finished 24-9 last season after losing in the quarterfinals of this year’s NCAA tourney to eventual champion, USC. Bossow is also a ringer. The 6-foot former Vail Mountain School star played a number of roles this year for the Buffs – who finished third in the Big 12 – before settling in as a middle blocker. She saw action in nearly every single game and is penciled in as the starter for next fall’s team, after a solid spring showing.”The coach kind of saw me as a very versatile player, so I think I played every position on the court other than setter or defensive specialist early on.” Bossow said. “I just kind of went out there and did my job when someone was struggling. Towards the end of the fall, I started starting some games and playing through other games and playing a lot more in the middle. This spring, I became the starting middle.”

Settling inBoth admitted the transition from high school volleyball to college wasn’t necessarily easy. Carter had a hard time adjusting to UCLA’s untraditional system, which uses complex offensive and defensive schemes. Making the move to sunny Southern California was also a big adjustment, though she said she loves her new home now.”I’m happy where I am,” she said. “I feel like I learned a lot. It’s a lot different out (there), but I love it now. I still miss the mountains sometimes, but I get to come back to them when I come home.”Bossow said the hardest thing for her was getting used to a big college and the fast-paced college game after going to teensy 1A VMS.”I would say most of it was mental,” she said. “Obviously, I improved as a player as well but it was just a complete mental change. My class in high school was 21 kids and everyone knows you. You go from that and, suddenly, you’re in a school with 26,000 people, and no one really knows who you are. “You are just out there trying to prove yourself as a volleyball player and as a person. The great thing, though, about volleyball is that the teams are small, so the coaches really do care about what’s going on in your life. If you had a rough practice, they’ll pull you into their office and ask you about it. They’ll work through your problems with you.”Switching to sandAfter making the adjustment to college ball, the switch to playing two-person beach volleyball this weekend shouldn’t be too tough to handle for the duo.

Both admitted that there will be a learning curve, though, especially for Bossow since UCLA does some of its spring practices on the beach.”I’ve done it before, but the difference between CU volleyball and sand volleyball is huge,” Bossow said. “We never practice in the sand. The only time we’ll ever do doubles is indoors on a court. I believe once we went outdoors and played in the grass, but we just don’t have the ability to go out and play in the sand because of the weather, and the surroundings. I dont’ even know if there is place to play in Boulder.”Still, there was no sense of urgency in each other’s voice as they talked about the outlook for the weekend.”It’s more just a fun thing and it helps build my vertical and things like that,” Bossow said.”We’re not expecting to win,” Carter said. “We’re just looking to get some good practice in.”And, maybe stand on the podium if all goes well.Contact Nate Peterson at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at Box!!!

King of the Mountain ResultsFridayMen’s Seniors 45 and over First: Kelly Esser and Greg Hall of GoldenSecond: David Strawn of Denver and Bill Noon of Greenwood VillageThird: Rocky Basile of Lakewood and Dana Mills of ArvadaMen’s MastersFirst: Rob Crawford of Eagle and Matt Bergdahl and AspenSecond: Rennie Werner of Denver and Dan Hamm of EvergreenThird: Anthony Jenkins Wichita, Kans., and Vince Bandermey Albuquerque, N.M.

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