Vail Valley preps: Devils volleyball upbeat after ﬁrst loss to Fruita
GYPSUM – Let’s get a couple things straight: When Eagle Valley sets a volleyball, it floats like a satellite.
When the Devils kill it, they hit like a demolition derby car that has completely lost its sense of self-preservation.
So the 4A Devils weren’t real upset when they lost their first match of the season, falling to 5A Fruita Monument, 3-2, in Thursday’s nonconference match. They considered it that half-step backward you take after you’ve taken two steps forward.
“We’re still trying to find our strengths and weaknesses, and we’re willing to put up with this as we learn about that,” said coach Shawn Weatherred.
The Devils fell to 2-1 on the young season, and they were philosophical about it. No raw emotion, no upheaval. Just lessons about the few things that went wrong and how everything else went right.
Eagle Valley won the opening game, 25-18, then Fruita Monument knotted the match with a 25-15 win. Eagle Valley blew away the Wildcats 25-12 in the third game, then lost 26-24 and 15-9 in the final two games.
“In the second set, we tried different offenses and different defenses, and that forced us out of our comfort zone a little,” Weatherred said.
Still, the season is young and Eagle Valley is learning what works and what doesn’t, and most of it works, Weatherred said.
For example, Alex Lassa hits volleyballs like she’s driving them into a parallel universe. She had 17 kills against Fruita Monument. Lauren Shreeve hits like she’s punching new holes in the ozone. She had eight kills and five digs.
Senior Shelby Wright threw a solo block in the fourth set that sounded like a bank vault door slamming shut. She had five blocks against Fruita Monument, two of them solo blocks.
“I thought Lauren played an exceptional match all around,” Weatherred said.
He also had high praise for senior setter Becca VanVoorst.
“She set the pace of the game with her set choices,” Weatherred said. “Who she gives it to makes it all work.”
In that first set, Lassa hit a kill for the match’s second point and the Devils were on their way. Daillen Culver added a seeing-eye dink, Kelsey VanGoey drilled a kill, Shreeve added a couple more and before you could say “25-18,” the first game was safely in the Devils’ column, 25-18.
The second game opened with a couple gut-check moments and a 9-3 deficit.
It stayed at that six-point deficit for the next 10 points until it got bigger and Fruita Monument led, 22-12, and the Wildcats evened the match at 25-15.
Eagle Valley opened the third game with a “that’s more like it” rally, jumping out 3-1 on Lassa’s three kills. Culver added a block and a couple digs, VanVoorst reeled off five straight serves and the Lady Devils found themselves up 8-3.
From there, the Devils pretty much had their way and rolled to a 25-12 win in the set and a 2-1 lead in the match.
In the third set, it was VanGoey who rocketed four straight serves and a 10-6 lead. Erin Burnett buried a seeing-eye dig, then added a kill moments later for an 18-12 Devils lead.
VanGoey made it 21-16, then the Devils had a couple “watduh?” moments and saw their lead cut to 21-20 in the fourth set, and soon found themselves on the losing end of a 26-24 score, knotting the match at two games each.
The rubber game was everything rubber games are supposed to be, serves and leads bouncing back and forth. But Fruita Monument “took it to us,” Weatherred said.
It wasn’t long before the Devils found themselves down 13-6, eventually falling 15-9.
Eagle Valley travels to Summit County High School on Tuesday.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.