Vail Christian, Vail Mountain off to good starts |

Vail Christian, Vail Mountain off to good starts

The Vail Christian and Vail Mountain volleyball teams both started their 2008 seasons in winning fashion last weekend. The Saints and Gore Rangers went a combined 5-2 in different tournaments.

Vail Christian avenged its only loss of the weekend and compiled a 3-1 record during the Grand Valley Tournament. The Saints opened their season with a victory over Grand Valley in four games.

Vail Christian kept rolling in its second match. After dropping the first set 23-25, The Saints responded by winning the next three sets to win the match. In sets two and three, Vail Christian won by a score of 25-9 both times.

The Saints finished the tournament with a marathon match against Paonia. Vail Christian was up 2-1, but the Eagles came back for the five-game win.

It didn’t take long for Vail Christian to avenge the loss. Playing in a seperate regular season match, the Saints again took on Paonia, this time winning 25-14, 21-25 and 15-13 in a best-of-three match.

“Being new in the (2A Slope), it was good getting to see some competition before we start league play,” Vail Christian coach Cathy Alexander said. “Paonia will be one of the toughest teams to beat, but we don’t see them again until our last week of the season.”

The key to Vail Christian’s success centered on the play of Allie Parker, Brooke Bowles and Samm Francis. Bowles did an excellent job of running the Saints’ 5-1 offense. Either she would set up a teammate, or surprise her opponents by dumping the ball over the net, Alexander said.

When Bowles bumped the ball to her teammates, Francis and Parker took advantage. The duo led the Saints in kills. Beri Dwyer also did well in her first action of the season, notching several kills from both the right and left sides of the court.

The long weekend slate of games allowed Alexander to take advantage of the Saints’ depth. Michelle Discher, Dakota Francis, Meghan Jacobs and Hannah Vancuren all played well for Vail Christian, Alexander said.

The Saints host West Grand on Saturday at 1 p.m. It will be the first match at Vail Christian’s new gym.

Gore Rangers win two

Vail Mountain nearly matched Vail Christian’s win total with two of its own last weekend. The Gore Rangers recorded three-game victories over Plateau Valley and Palisade’s JV at the Plateau Valley Tournament. Vail Mountain also dropped a three-game match to Hayden.

“Plateau Valley and Palisade were decent, but not tremendously strong,” Vail Mountain coach Mike Garvey said. “Obviously, beating those teams there-and-out was the goal. Hayden was big and athletic. Simply, we made too many mistakes to win the match. We were pleased, in some regard, with our level of play, but in that match, we shot ourselves in the foot.”

Following the tournament, Garvey couldn’t single out just one of his players.

“There wasn’t somebody I could pick that was more outstanding than another person,” Garvey said. “It was a really balanced effort from the entire group. That’s what we are hoping is our strengths as the season goes on.”

Vail Mountain starts league play on Saturday at Rangely.

Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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