Vail Christian’s road at state ends with Fleming
DENVER – Any volleyball season that ends on the floor of the Denver Coliseum is a good one.
It still hurts, but you’re here among the best.
With a chance to advance to the 1A state semifinals Saturday morning at the Denver Coliseum, Vail Christian was simply overmatched in a 25-14, 25-20, 25-13 loss to No. 1-ranked Fleming. That loss combined with Simla defeating Wiley eliminated the Saints from the state tourney.
While that sequence of events will go down as the reason the Saints’ season ended, it likely was finished when Vail Christian was swept by Simla on Friday afternoon.
“If we’d played that way (Friday) against Simla, it might have been different,” Saints coach Cathy Alexander said. “I’m pleased with how we played against Fleming.”
The Saints put up a good fight, but Wildcats entered the tournament as the top seed for a reason and they came as advertised against Vail Christian.
“I just need the tall girls,” Alexander joked. “Can you grow me some girls like that?”
The sophisticated athletic analysis of this one was that Fleming had four players who were 6-feet or taller and the Saints’ biggest player is 5-foot-9. That said, the Saints did give the Wildcats a run for their money in Game 2.
Vail Christian erased a 13-6 Fleming lead to tie the Wildcats at 16. The Saints’ Emily Irwin and McKenzie O’Brien both had aces during the line. Reanna Sutherland also served up some points. The Saints did their best to use hustle to overcome Flemming’s size, but the better team won.
The Saints finished the season with an outstanding 23-6 mark, one of the best in school history. Along the way, the Saints won their first regional title and picked up their first state-tournament match Friday, defeating Wiley.
“As a team we did really well,” Irwin said. “I think the younger girls got a great experience for next year. For us seniors, we just enjoyed it. To make it our senior year is definitely a blessing.”
Outside of the wins and losses – though important at the varsity level – Alexander was also pleased with the development of her squad throughout the season.
“It’s been a lot of growth within the team,” the coach said. “We’ve had to have some people step up into key roles and become consistent. We had to have Reanna and Micaela (McGuckin) and other girls who may not look as flashy become more consistent to make the team good, and they did.”
The Saints sent off seniors McGuckin, Yahaira Ruiz, Irwin, Dakota Francis, Sutherland and Tracey Salgado at state.
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