Vail Mountain School volleyball rolls past North Park
EAST VAIL — It’s not like the wheels fell off.
Vail Mountain School volleyball lost a match to a very good team in Meeker on Saturday, Sept. 16, in five tight sets.
But it was nice for the Gore Rangers to get back in the swing of things with a 25-16, 25-15, 25-16 victory over North Park on Thursday, Sept. 21.
“When we see us play our best, which wasn’t at Meeker, we can compete with anybody,” VMS coach Whitney Armistead said. “I have a really mentally tough team this year, and they’re able to recover from moments like that. We used the Meeker game as a sign of what we need to work on.”
“It’s very nice,” junior outside-hitter Sarah Evans said. “It helps boost our confidence again, get us back in rhythm for Rangely.”
Those Panthers are come to town on Saturday, Sept. 23, but, in the meantime, the Gore Rangers raised their record to 5-1 in the 2A Slope.
To think or not?
Against North Park, Evans started the match with a lot of good serving and finished with more from behind the line. She had runs of six and nine points in the first set alone. Evans had another 10-point run in the third game.
That doubtless made her grandma Judy O’Brien in the stands a very happy camper. The coach was pleased, too, an added bonus.
“We take the mentality that every time we send the ball over the net, we’re attacking,” Armistead said. “(Sarah) did a great job of putting the ball over the net and getting them in trouble. Pretty happy with that.”
While Evans said she was focusing on just putting the ball in play, setter Chloe Pesso says she does her best not to think about running the offense while she’s on the court.
“I’m not thinking when I’m out there,” Pesso said. “I let my hands do the work.”
And that did the trick. Pesso has an abundance of weapons from which to choose — Evans, Maggie Sturm, Payton Connoly, Ana Holguin and Carly Lloyd, to name a few.
“It is so much fun,” Pesso said. “Our group has such a good dynamic. It makes my job a lot easier when I get the perfect passes and perfect kills from my friends.”
The reason the focus was so much on Meeker last Saturday is that the Cowboys are one of three teams, along with Paonia and West Grand, who have run roughshod over the 2A Slope during the last few seasons.
Other teams with postseason aspirations such as VMS, need to go through that trio. One of the big factors in getting to that level is the bane of just about every volleyball team in the country — unforced errors.
“When we played Meeker we weren’t playing our best,” Armistead said. “We had a weird week and came back and made too many unforced errors. We worked really hard on that and making sure that our serves were a little bit more aggressive.”