Vail Valley preps: Determined Devils down the Huskies
EDWARDS, Colorado – Scrappy play, patience and a little luck.
That’s what helped the Eagle Valley volleyball team leave Battle Mountain’s gym with a victory Tuesday.
But, true to the cross-county rivalry, the match was awfully close most of the way.
The Devils won, 25-14, 28-26, 25-23, on a night when their passing game struggled. But the team was able to keep plays alive, gain momentum and close out sets.
“I feel like we really fought through,” said Eagle Valley’s Becka VanVoorst. “That’s probably the scrappiest we’ve ever played.”
Alex Lassa and Shelby Wright led the Devils with 11 and seven kills, respectively. Paige Genelin added six digs for Eagle Valley.
“I think we stayed focused and disciplined on defense,” said Devils coach Shawn Weatherred. “We had a lot of those scrappy plays that were kind of weird, but we kept the ball alive and stayed with it. And those things really change momentum in a set. I think those kind of plays really helped carry us through, not necessarily our kills and hits and blocks.”
Battle Mountain showed flashes of brilliance but failed to shut the door when it had the chance.
Late in the second set, powered by the net play of Samantha Miletich and Krista Norris, the Huskies reeled off five consecutive points, pulling ahead, 24-21. But they couldn’t close out the set.
The Huskies again had a game point in the second set at 26-25. For a moment, it seemed they got it as the referee ruled that Battle Mountain won the next point. But the call was reversed after a consultation between officials, and the Devils rallied to score the final three points of the set.
The third set was close throughout. The score was tied at 22, but Eagle Valley slipped ahead thanks to kills from Wright and Lauren Shreeve.
“That’s what rivalries are about right there,” Weatherred said. “Nip and tuck the whole way. I’m really proud of our girls for staying patient and waiting for our opportunities and taking advantage of them.”
With the win – their 11th straight – the Devils swept this season’s two head-to-head games against Battle Mountain.
“We were definitely excited about it, and we wanted to win,” VanVoorst said of the rivalry game. “We wanted it badly.”
The Devils improve to 12-2 overall and 10-0 in conference play.
A win over Steamboat on Saturday would give Eagle Valley its second consecutive league title.
Battle Mountain coach Lara Bossow said her team’s performance was significantly better than it was when these two squads played last month.
“So much better. Our girls turned around and fought very well,” Bossow said. “They’ve improved a lot since the last game. It was a close match, and it was fun. It was really fun to watch and really fun to be a part of.”
Bossow pointed to the strong play of Cara Murbach as well as Miletich and Norris.
Battle Mountain is now 5-9 overall and 4-6 in the Slope.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.