Vail Christian spikers open up season today |

Vail Christian spikers open up season today

EDWARDS – Vail Christian ushers in year No. 2 of playing the in the 2A Western Slope today when the Saints travel to West Grand, and it’s safe to say, that this year will not be a magical mystery tour.

“It’s a big help having been through it once before,” Saints coach Cathy Alexander said. “They know what to expect, who’s there. They’re not going in blind.”

It’s still a tough league, led by the likes of Meeker and Hayden, not to mention some school from East Vail. Yet the Saints enter 2009 with promising young talent and a new scheme.

Vail Christian will be running a 5-1 offense off serve-receive and then a 6-2 after that, and that will lead some Saints to be in new places.

Beri Dwyer and Dakota Francis will be on the outside along with Tracey Salgado. Dwyer is one of the team’s captains, while Dakota fulfills the school requirement that a Francis must be on a Vail Christian sports team. (With Jaryd and Sammy Francis as well as the entire Parker clan having graduated, Dakota’s becoming a rare breed.)

On the outside look for Reanna Sutherland and Hannah Vancuren. Brook Bowles, who shares the captain’s duties with Dwyer, is the team’s setter and will also hit from the right side. Kylee Alexander is also at setter.

MacKenzie O’Brien lines up at libero, while Ashlyn Gruber will hit from the left. Expect Meghan Jacobs to split time between outside hitter and defensive specialist.

While there’s no doubt that Bowles will play a prominent role for Vail Christian, Cathy Alexander is looking for her youngsters to step up this season.

“We’re still young, but there’s no more excuses about being freshmen,” she said. “They’ve worked hard. We’ve had open gym and they’ve been to camps. They’re maturing. MacKenzie and Kylee both played club volleyball all year. Reanna has come a long way. She’s one of those kids who’s works and works.

“Our goal this year is to have fewer mistakes than the other team. We working on playing smarter rather than playing harder.”

All of this is not to say that the Saints don’t have ladies who can pound the ball down when necessary. Alexander expect Bowles, Gruber and Dwyer to be big presences at the net.

After West Grand today, the Saints head to Grand Valley for a tournament Saturday. Vail Christian’s home opener is Sept. 19 against Hayden. The Saints’ second home game is against Vail Mountain Sept. 29, the first time Vail Christian hosts the Gore Rangers in its home gym.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or

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