Vail Valley preps: Devils sweep Montrose; league next
GYPSUM – Midway through Game 1 of Eagle Valley’s match against Montrose Thursday, Devils outside hitter Alex Lassa got ready for the set from teammate Becka Van Voorst, and most of the visiting Indians logically followed trying to set up a block.
Instead, Van Voorst neatly flicked the ball backwards to Shelby Wright for an easy point.
That in nutshell was the problem for Montrose Thursday night as the Devils cruised, 25-15, 25-19, 25-21. And Eagle Valley hopes to create more of these match-up problems as it starts league play at Glenwood Springs on Saturday.
“That’s her call. Becka runs the offense,” Devils coach Shawn Weatherred said. “I talk with her about managing the game. But it’s more of her feeling the flow of the game. That’s a classic example of her making a good decision.”
“I try to mix up the blocks, so we have a better chance,” Van Voorst said. “Everyone’s stepping up their game. I have a lot of confidence in everyone.”
And that’s the good/scary news for Devils fans and/or their opponents. Eagle Valley has been tinkering during its 4-1 start against non-Slope foes, and the beginning of the result were on display for the Indians.
One of the heroines in this process has been Wright. A longtime outside hitter, she’s moved to middle block, a major adjustment, and not a sacrifice that a senior veteran would usually make. That allows Lauren Shreeve a place as an outside hitter and also has made a space for Kelsey Vangoey, both of whom were also in on key plays in the win against Montrose.
“For me as a coach, that shows tremendous leadership,” Weathered said of Wright.
It also gives Van Voorst five options on over attack – Lasse, Shreeve, Vangoey, Wright and assorted combinations of Daillen Culver and Maddie McGinty, who saw considerable playing time in the third game against Montrose.
“(Van Voorst) should have five options out there at all times,” Weatherred said. “We don’t need Alex to hit 25 balls in a set.”
That said, when big No. 16 gets going, that’s not a bad idea either. By the end of the third game, Lasse was on a roll and smashed down the final four points of the Devils’ win.
Though the Devils still play nonleague teams in Roaring Fork and Grand Junction Central later this season, they start the defense of their 4A Slope crown Saturday at Glenwood Springs at 1 p.m.
And Eagle Valley will continue to tinker with combinations to make their attack more varied.
“The main thing we’ve been working on is the mental aspect,” Weatherred said. “We’ve got to worry about our side of the net. We can dictate play if we worry about our side of the net, and we’re mentally focused on everything. That’s what we’ve been harping on.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.