Vail Mountain eyes state tournament berth |

Vail Mountain eyes state tournament berth

Ian Smith
Vail, CO Colorado
Daily file photoVail Mountain's Lynnie Somes makes a dig during action last season. Somes and the Gore Rangers are looking to make the state tournament this season.

VAIL, Colorado ” Vail Mountain volleyball coach Mike Garvey doesn’t dance around the issue like most coaches. His team is already thinking about the state tournament.

The Gore Rangers return plenty of experience and welcome a few talented newcomers who hope to make the trip to Denver.

“I think the team is definitely looking at the postseason,” Garvey said. “They are focused on the small steps it takes to be involved in the postseason. This group doesn’t have anyone that’s participated in the state tournament. This team wants to get there.”

Back for Vail Mountain are four of its power hitters from last year’s squad that finished second in the 2A Slope. Chanda Wilcox and Brigitta Gehl will punish opponents as middle hitters. Lynnie Somes and Ande Brill will take care of business on the outside.

“I think brining back four out of six players, obviously each one of those players has improved a little bit over the course of the year,” Garvey said. “We feel like we like we are a stronger team offensively because we are bringing back most of our hitters.”

Those big spikers are especially important to the Gore Rangers’ goals this year. In order to make the trip to state, Vail Mountain must mount a more consistent offense.

“We were a solid team last year,” Garvey said. “We were a good defensive team, but not as strong as an attacking team. We want to put a little more pressure on the opponents this year.”

A pair of juniors will be largely responsible for setting up kills for their senior teammates. Cynthia Edgerton takes over at setter for the graduated Molly Etters, and Hilarie Bellis is slotted to start at libero. Garvey is happy with the development of both Bellis and Edgerton.

“Hillary is stepping up as our libero,” Garvey said. “We feel like we are going to have a very strong libero.

“In a lot of sense, we haven’t even really noticed we have a new person at setter. Cynthia has worked really hard the last few seasons. I think as the year goes on, I think she’ll go from a good setter to a great setter.”

The Vail Mountain reserves should also make contributions to the varsity roster. Katherine Fontanase and Clare Elich will both be ready to go for the Gore Rangers. Garvey said a number of players will shuffle from the JV team up to varsity to get experience throughout the year.

So far, so good

With all the returning experience, it’s no surprise Vail Mountain is eyeing a state tournament berth. Improvements on offense and the same stellar defense tend to raise expectations.

“One thing I’ve noticed so far, is our girls understand the system we’re in,” Garvey said. “They do a great job of reading the play and reading the other team’s attacks. We are just looking to hone in on everything and keep getting better. We are solid right now.”

The Gore Rangers will compete with Meeker and West Grand for the Slope title. Also look out for archrival Vail Christian, who joins the league this season.

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

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