Vail Mountain, Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley volleyball prepare for regionals
In theory, it’s simple.
Win two matches and go to the Denver Coliseum and the state tournament.
That’s the task for the Vail Mountain School, Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley volleyball teams on Saturday, Nov. 3, at their respective regional tournaments.
VMS is at home for the first time in program history, hosting the 2A Region 8 Tournament. In theory, the Gore Rangers have the best path to the Barn on Brighton of the three local squads.
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But strange things happen in these round robins around the state. All it takes is the favorite of a region having a bad day and Cinderella can work her way to the ball.
Here are the draws for VMS, Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley.
These are heady days at the Vail Mountain School. Not only are the Gore Rangers hosting regionals for the first time, but they’re wearing orange for the first time in the postseason.
Anyone who has grown up within VMS knows the importance of orange, usually reserved for the soccer program, and the 18-5 Gore Rangers know it’s special.
While orange uniforms are cool, the goal is to keep wearing them all the way to state.
No. 29 Sedgewick County (11 a.m.) and No. 17 Dawson School (roughly 2 p.m.) stand in the way.
There is nothing resembling a common opponent among these geographic disparate opponents. So the focus in East Vail is on VMS’ own play.
Throughout the season, according to senior setter Chloe Pesso, the Gore Rangers have goals within matches to meet.
“We need to have a strong mindset,” she said. “We can’t go into a game too cocky or confident. This is not an easy shot, as some people may think. We need to focus on our goals and make sure we stay together as a team.”
In Class 4A, Woodland Park and Battle Mountain had to go out the sixth decimal point of the rating-percentage index to break the tie between the two teams for the 12th seed.
The No. 12 Panthers got the nod and host the No. 13 Huskies and No. 25 Cheyenne Mountain on Saturday.
With such tight mathematics, this should be a very competitive trio of squads with a state bid on the line.
The Huskies (17-6) will travel down to Colorado Springs on Friday, Nov. 2, and watch the round-robin opener between No. 25 Cheyenne Mountain and Woodland Park on Saturday morning.
Cheyenne Mountain may be 10-13, but the Indians have a habit of blowing up regional seedings. Last year, Cheyenne Mountain was 8-15 entering Region 11 and beat both Glenwood Springs and Thomas Jefferson to make state.
Within Battle Mountain’s camp, it’s matter of a theme.
“Volleyball-wise, for us we’re looking for the girls to stay connected during the day,” Huskies coach Jason Fitzgerald said. “When we are in that mode and mindset, we’re real tough and dangerous.”
Battle Mountain faces Cheyenne Mountain roughly at noon, followed by Woodland Park at 1:30 p.m.
Entering as a No. 28 seed, most would think Eagle Valley has none chance of advancing to state.
“Those of us in our gym think we do have a chance,” Eagle Valley coach Jackie Rindy said.
One of the reasons for optimism in Gypsum is that outside-hitter Sky Lieurance is back from a concussion she incurred at the Regis Jam Tournament at the beginning of the season. That has a chain reaction down the line.
With Lieurance back, that moves Bree Gates over to the right side in the rotation and she’ll help with the block there.
Perhaps, the Devils (13-9) are a wildcard.
Eagle Valley takes on host No. 9 Palmer Ridge (16-7) at 9:30 a.m., and gets right back after it against No. 13 Roosevelt (13-10) at 11 a.m. Palmer Ridge edged Roosevelt, 2-1, in best-of-3 match at the Silver Creek Tournament on Sept. 8.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.