Vail Christian takes down VMS in three
EDWARDS — Both Vail Christian and Vail Mountain School volleyball teams are young with all of three seniors between them.
But that’s where the similarities end.
The Saints aren’t old in academic standing, but they’ve been playing together more at the varsity level, while the Gore Rangers are as young as they look on the roster.
And that was the deciding factor as Vail Christian swept Vail Mountain in three, 25-17, 25-19, 25-14, on Wednesday at the Wheeler Athletic Center in Edwards.
“It’s pretty exciting just to see the team come together, especially from last year,” Saints junior Jessie Hartley said. “It’s not so much of a rebuilding year.”
Hartley went on to say that she’s been playing with Remy Beveridge and Taylor Alexander for three years now. While Alexander is out with a shoulder injury, the point stands.
Defend the middle
Vail Christian seniors Baylee Weimer and Sara Coulter are vets, but so are Hartley, a junior, and Ciara Heiden. While there was not questioning Vail Mountain’s effort, the Gore Rangers on the current roster haven’t played a lot of varsity and it made a difference.
VMS was coming off a three-game loss at Soroco on Tuesday night, in which the team scored all of seven points during the first two sets.
“To come out tonight, to play a rivalry game, I thought we managed that very well,” VMS coach Mike Garvey said. “I thought we showed a lot of poise. The group doesn’t have any quit in them. They’re not getting down on themselves. Sometimes, you can’t coach that.”
Vail Christian moved to 3-0 in the Northern Division of the 2A Slope, while VMS fell to 0-3, but despite these early league games, nothing is set in stone.
The Saints, coming off a nonconference loss to Meeker on Friday, used the game to address the middle of the court defensively. Coach Cathy Alexander used three different rotations, focusing primarily around junior Brittney Bossow to use her height and athleticism to defend there.
“Today was making sure that the middle of our court wasn’t exposed,” Alexander said. “Meeker exposed the middle of our court. We worked on that, the tipping and the coverage a little bit better. We’ve been working on coverage of our blocks and making sure we can make a play after we play it up. We had several of those tonight. So what I’m seeing is that we’re doing exactly what we worked on in practice.”
On the other side of the ledger, Alexander said that the team’s hitting wasn’t as strong as she would have liked, but that may have had something to do with the tempo of the game, which was start-and-stop.
Despite the pace, Sara Coulter still knocked down a few with authority.
Meanwhile, VMS is rebuilding. They did have some moments, especially in serving from players like freshman Ellie Brown.
Garvey, of course, would like to see the Gore Rangers grow on the court and see them start to produce results, but the bottom line is playing well come the district tournament in October.
“We’re a team that’s young in age and in volleyball,” Garvey said. “Our older players haven’t played a ton of volleyball. The learning curve has got to be really quick for us. Thankfully, our format is worse-case scenario is a pig tail to get into districts. We’re not out. We have the time to get better.”
Both Vail Mountain and Vail Christian host Hayden on Saturday in that order. Times for the matches are still up in the air.