Vail Valley preps: Eagle Valley hands Roaring Fork its ﬁrst loss
GYPSUM – It was one of those nights that asked the philosophical question, “How many angels can play volleyball on the head of a pin?”
None. Only Devils.
Eagle Valley and Roaring Fork waged a Titanic battle Tuesday, fighting to the last point of the last set, with the Devils holding off the previously unbeaten Rams.
Roaring Fork was 14-0 coming in. They went out giving every bit as good as they got, taking the match to five sets.
“I feel like a race car that’s been revving over the red line,” said Eagle Valley coach Shawn Weatherred after the match.
Eagle Valley won the first two sets, leaving Roaring Fork in a deep hole.
But you can’t keep a good Ram down. Roaring Fork hit the Devils with everything but a lawsuit to win the next two sets and force the fifth.
“I was impressed that we were down 0-2 and still battled back,” said Roaring Fork coach Carrie Schultz. “It shows a maturity that we can be down and still maintain our composure and battle back.”
The match was a repeat of last year’s showdown at Roaring Fork, only last year the Rams won at their place.
Tuesday, the Devils found themselves down by four early in the first set, but a couple dinks, a couple dunks and a kill had them flying to a 22-16 lead. They rode it to a 25-18 win.
The second set was one of those games when things go back and forth like two candidates pretending to be civil during a political debate, when they’d much rather the other would go gently into that good night – which means something to people who’ve read Dylan Thomas, or at least the book cover.
Roaring Fork’s Niki Burns knotted it at 2-2 with a couple kills.
But then …
Eagle Valley senior Lauren Shreeve drilled an ace, Alex Lassa hit two kills so hard they knocked new holes in the ozone and the Devils were making it look easy, up two sets to none with a 25-17 win in the second.
The third set saw the two teams swapping leads like the Kardashian sisters swap plastic surgeons. Eagle Valley’s Shelby Wright tied it 4-4 with a kill, and sophomore Maddy McGinty nailed one.
Three more lead changes and two kills by Roaring Fork’s Niki Burns tied it at 12-12.
Burns put the Rams on top with a kill, then rolled off a couple points on serves for a 17-14 Roaring Fork lead.
But then …
Lassa killed like Jay Leno in a show club on the Las Vegas Strip, Becka VanVoorst served twice and it looked like Eagle Valley would make short work of the night.
But wait …
Roaring Fork’s Shelby Wright served an ace to open a five point lead at 23-18 and the Rams won the third set 25-19, closing the match to two sets to one.
Then there was that fourth set …
Roaring Fork jumped out to a 13-5 lead when Landon Garvik got the hot hand serving. Eagle Valley didn’t get the ball back until Roaring Fork handed it over with a double hit.
Roaring Fork’s Savanna Phibbs threw a block and Megan Gianinetti followed it with a kill to put Roaring Fork up by six and the Rams held on for a 25-21 win, tying the match at two sets each.
The fifth and deciding set goes to 15 points and they took a thrilling road to get there.
Roaring Fork jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but Eagle Valley battled back to a 7-5 lead.
Eagle Valley’s Shreeve reeled off three straight serves for an 11-8 lead, VanVoorst dinked then set Erin Burnett for a quick hitter and a 12-9 lead.
VanVoorst served twice for a 14-10 lead, but Roaring Fork was having no part of going away quietly.
A long kill shot, a block and a dink made pulled the Rams to within one at 14-13.
Kelsey VanGoey hit the winner with a kill on VanVoorst’s seeing-eye set.
“It was a great match and Roaring Fork is a great team,” Weatherred said.