Vail teams split in first day of action at districts |

Vail teams split in first day of action at districts

Ian Cropp

MONTROSE – For Vail Mountain volleyball, things went according to plan Friday night. For Vail Christian, however, the night could have gone a little better.The Gore Rangers started out the 1A District 1 Tournament by handling Ridgway, 25-12, 25-14, 25-13, while the Saints dropped a long match to Norwood, 18-25, 26-24, 25-14, 23-25, 15-13.”We came out strong,” said Vail Mountain coach Mike Garvey. “The girls had great poise, and we maintained our focus.”Garvey was happy that his No. 1-seeded Gore Rangers kept the ball moving well all game.”We maintained our speed on offense and we were serving consistently,” Garvey said. “There was great passing all around. It was great team play – everyone was doing their job.”Aubrie Apple came through big with a string of serves in the second game. Garvey was impressed with Lara Green’s kills and blocks, responsibilities normally not relegated to her.And Cely Brinkmann, who struggled in the team’s previous match against Vail Christian, had a great all-around game.The powerful Vail Mountain offense kept the Ridgway hitters scrambling to defend.”For the most part, we had them off balance with our attack, so we had to be ready for them to hustle,” Garvey said. “There were a lot of free balls and awkward balls they hit to us.”Janelle Kibler-Silengo and Stephanie Miletich came in and played well filling in for Lindsay Wright.Hard fallVail Christian played up and down, battling all game long, but couldn’t come away with the much-needed win.”It was one of those where we played very tentatively and not real aggressive,” said Vail Christian coach Cathy Alexander. “What made it tough was that they were all such close games.”In the final game, the Saints were up 11-6, but Norwood was about to erase the deficit with a string of tough serves. Norwood tied the game at 11-11, then, at 13-13, the Mavericks pulled away for the win.”It was like playing against DeBeque – you had to be patient,” Alexander said. “Norwood dug everything up, and we needed to hit harder and more accurate.”Nicole Parker, who played with an ailing shoulder, had a good match for the Saints. Kristin McGinty hit the ball well from the right side, and Monica Schultheis had a solid performance in the back row.Today, the Saints face Ridgway early, then square off against Vail Mountain later in the day.”We really need to come out and be more relaxed and play more confidently,” Alexander said. “If we are going to regionals, we’re going to have to do it the hard way.”The Gore Rangers are happy to have a win under their belt going into what could be a four-match day. Vail Mountain will play Norwood early today.”To get one out of the way and play confident is great,” Garvey said. “It takes some nerves out, but it’s going to be a matter of maintaining that play.”Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or, Colorado

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