Vail Valley preps: Rams down Devils
Vail, CO Colorado
CARBONDALE, Colorado – Class 3A Roaring Fork’s volleyball team on Tuesday did what no 4A Western Slope school’s been able to do thus far in 2009 – defeat Eagle Valley.
Roaring Fork had to pull itself up off a ledge once or twice, but the resolve-filled Rams managed the nonleague shocker in five games in front of a raucous home crowd in Carbondale.
“We went into the (match) knowing that Eagle Valley would be one of the toughest teams we’re going to see,” said Roaring Fork junior Landon Garvik, whose team won by game counts of 25-23, 21-25, 22-25, 26-24 and 15-8. “I’m glad we played them at the end of the season, to kind of get a little test of what we might see at districts and beyond.”
The 3A Slope champion Rams, now 17-1 overall, have rarely been tested this season, losing only to Coal Ridge and winning 11 of their 18 matches in three games. And, square with Garvik’s assessment, Eagle Valley is far and away the most formidable opponent they’ve seen this fall.
The Devils, 14-3 overall, entered Tuesday’s match with the 4A Slope crown in the bag. They’re 12-0 in league with two matches remaining.
“We hadn’t played a team that was that aggressive,” Roaring Fork coach Carrie Shultz said. “They were well-rounded. They had an excellent setter and five excellent hitters who were tough to defend.”
Sophomore Alex Lassa, one of those big hitters, kept Shultz’s Rams on their toes all night. Racking up 19 kills, the 6-footer routinely smashed high-velocity shots at the Roaring Fork defense. She belted six kills apiece in the second and third games, helping the Devils turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 advantage.
It appeared as though Eagle Valley would parlay that momentum into a match victory as the fourth game wore on. The Devils used a run in the frame’s middle stages to seemingly seize control. It’s when they reached 20 points, though, that things began to unravel.
Down 20-15, the Rams started stepping up their attack. Big hits by Garvik, Niki Burns and a series of Eagle Valley errors fueled a 9-1 Roaring Fork run that put the Devils, down 24-21 all of a sudden, on the ropes.
However, Eagle Valley managed to tie it at 24 on an unreturnable serve from Shila Branch, and kills by Daillen Culver and Lauren Shreeve. But the Devils followed with a serve into the net that set the stage for a game-winning kill by Garvik, who drove a Joey Clingan set to the floor.
Garvik struck three more kills in the Roaring Fork-dominated fifth game. The junior finished with a match-high 23 kills.
Shelby Wright had 14 kills and Culver finished with nine for the Devils, who were none too happy with Tuesday’s outcome.
“I don’t believe losing’s ever good,” said Eagle Valley coach Shawn Weatherred. “They took it to us. They outplayed us and the better team won tonight.”
Roaring Fork closes out its regular season at home against Aspen on Friday. Eagle Valley hosts Rifle on Thursday and is at Glenwood Springs on Saturday.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.