Vail Christian beats DeBeque … at last

Chris Freud
Shane Macomber/Vail DailyVail Christian's Monica Schultheis spikes the ball over to DeBeque Tuesday in Edwards. The Saints beat the Dragons for the first time in the program's history.

EDWARDS – It had taken Vail Christian volleyball so long to beat DeBeque for the first time in the program’s history that the Saints and their fans could wait for a fifth game Tuesday night at St. Clare.After years of being stymied by the Dragons, Vail Christian finally got over the hump beating DeBeque, 26-24, 25-19, 19-25, 23-25, 15-7.”It’s really cool,” senior outside hitter Bradie Beagley said. “I know we could have done it quicker. I’m just glad we did it. It’s really exciting. It was a lot of energy.””It’s probably almost as good as beating VMS because we’ve done that before,” said setter Nicole Parker, who like Beagley has played since her freshman year. “Beating DeBeque is pretty big.”

The Dragons played their style of volleyball – tipping, tipping and more tipping the ball over the net and digging everything in sight. While Vail Christian was clearly ready for it, that style of play helped DeBeque come back from a 2-0 deficit to force a fifth game.”Nothing counts with DeBeque until you’re finished,” coach Cathy Alexander said. “They are the scrappiest team I’ve ever seen. Fortunately, we did not wear down. They stepped back on the floor (in the fifth game) like it was the first game and that’s what I asked them to do.”After dropping the third and fourth games, the Saints came out in the fifth and looked much more like they had in the first two sets. Up 1-0, Kelly Bowles served four straight points for a 5-0 lead. Beagley had a tip and a kill, while Parker had a successful attack and Kristin McGinty put up a block during that run.

Molly Brooks followed another productive attack from Beagley with a spectacular play off a free ball that found just the right place in DeBeque’s end for a 7-1 lead. Beagley gave DeBeque a taste of its own medicine with a tip and Kaley Hagerman had a kill and the Saints were cruising, 9-3.McGinty got Vail Christian to within two points of the historic win with a kill and then Britni Beagley served out the final two points.”It’s great to know you can beat a team you’ve never beaten before,” Alexander said. “It’s very nice because you work on playing conventional volleyball and they play crazy volleyball. It frustrates the fool out of you. But we worked hard, persevering, passing and not giving up even though they dug us.”The Saints raised their record to 6-5 overall and 4-1 in the 1A Mountain League. Vail Christian is in second place, its highest standing this late in the season in the program’s history.

Not only does the win improve the team’s chances of making regionals, but the Saints’ confidence will be soaring when they hit the road for Ridgway (12:15 p.m.) and Ouray (3:15 p.m.) Saturday.”It boosts the team a lot,” Bradie Beagley said. “When we’re on, we can seriously do anything.”Sports editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555 or via, Colorado

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