Vail Christian’s Parker, Francis honored
Vail, CO Colorado
EDWARDS, Colorado ” The Vail Christian volleyball team will certainly miss seniors Allie Parker and Sammy Francis next season, but both left a mark on the program that should be remembered for years to come.
Parker and Francis’ leadership skills played a huge role in the Saints’ success this year. Parker was named first team all-league for her play this season. Francis earned honorable-mention recognition.
“Both of them stepped up and helped create a team out of girls that hadn’t really played together a lot,” Vail Christian coach Cathy Alexander said. “Both of those seniors did a really good job of creating an environment that made a team. Being a team is better than having one or two stars.”
The Saints went into the season with a young roster, and Alexander looked to Parker and Francis ” along with fellow senior Michelle Discher ” to help shape the squad. After some early struggles, Vail Christian (10-13) played its best volleyball of the season down the stretch. The Saints knocked off Vail Mountain in five games at districts. Vail Christian barely missed out on going to regionals after losing to Rangely in four games in its last match at districts to end its season.
“(Parker and Francis) asked these girls to play at a higher level,” Alexander said. “Their goal was to make it out of districts, but we fell just short. They showed the girls what it takes to reach that level.”
The hard-working Parker did her best Cal Ripken Jr. impersonation this year. She didn’t come out of a match all season. That’s quite a feat considering Parker was responsible for a large portion of Vail Christian’s offense.
“Her athletic ability is one of the main things she brings (to the court),” Alexander said. “She has an incredibly vertical jump. Her hitting (this season) was the best it’s been.”
Despite playing with an injured shoulder, Francis turned out to be the Saints’ biggest offensive threat. She routinely notched 10-13 kills per match.
“Sam was probably the most dominant hitter we had as far as statistics go,” Alexander said. “She was very vocal on the floor, creating energy.
“Her strong suit was being at the net creating opportunities for her and her teammates.”
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.