Vail Valley preps: Back to back to back
GYPSUM, Colorado – There was not a huge celebration. This was expected. It wasn’t particularly dramatic – and that was actually a pretty good thing.
But Eagle Valley volleyball still stepped back a moment or two Saturday to acknowledge a tremendous accomplishment. By pounding Palisade in three Saturday, 25-16, 25-19, 25-19, the Devils wrapped up their third consecutive 4A Western Slope title, thank you very much.
“It’s not something we take for granted,” said junior outside-hitter Alex Lassa. ” This is a good as winning it the first time.”
Lassa should know. It’s all she’s known on her three years of varsity. While there are bigger things ahead, say like winning the district tournament, which the Devils will host, in two weeks. Eagle Valley undoubtedly wants to do the same in regionals to make state, the ultimate goal.
But three in row is special. Looking back at recent history, the last three-peat in Slope volleyball was none other than Battle Mountain’s teams from 2005-07, and that’s good company.
“It’s great,” Devils coach Shawn Weatherred said. “I think out of the three years, from top to bottom, this year’s league was the toughest. It’s a nice one to have.”
The Devils made it official by achieving their goal for the day – closing a team out. Despite a sparkling 13-2 record, the Devils have had a bit of a habit of letting teams back into games after taking early control. That’s fine against Delta – a five-set win Thursday – but could be costly against the better competition the Devils hope to see.
Eagle Valley separated itself from Palisade in Game 3 with Shila Branch at the serving line and attacks from Lauren Shreeve, Kelsey VanGoey and Shelby Wright for an 8-5 lead. A Lasse tip made it 15-9.
One funny note from this one was that Palisade tried to go at Lasse when she was in the back row, thinking that the junior was somewhat one-dimensional. Nope.
“I like it when they do that,” Lassa said.
As most who have gone before have discovered, Eagle Valley is solid all-around. VanGoey had two aces to put the Devils up, 24-15, and after a short Bulldogs rally, Lassa closed it down with an attack.
“Our main focus was not becoming lazy in Game 3,” Weatherred said. “We really met that goal. We put steady pressure on them.”
With the league title, Eagle Valley will host the District 7 Tournament Oct. 30. Before that, the Devils have three more league games. They’re at Battle Mountain Tuesday and host both Moffat County and Steamboat Springs Saturday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.