VMS does its job, comes up short in districts
The Vail Mountain School volleyball team did its job.
VMS followed the plan – beat Vail Christian and Norwood in pool play. That way, VMS would avoid tournament-favorite DeBeque and so the Gore likely play and beat Ridgway semifinals in the of the 1A District 1 Volleyball Tournament in Delta to advance to regionals.
The loud Homer Simpson-like “D’oh,” you heard from Delta Saturday came when Ouray knocked off DeBeque in pool play. That meant that, despite winning their pool, the Gore Rangers had to play the No. 1 Dragons in the semifinals – and DeBeque ended VMS’ season in three games.
“Like anything else, we can only control so much,” VMS coach Mike Garvey said. “We controlled our side of it. Truthfully, what happened is that DeBeque didn’t come to play against Ouray. So, DeBeque had to dig their way out. They had a playoff with Ouray, and we end up facing them. That kind of got them steamrolling, while earlier in the morning they were crumbling.”
Vail Mountain fell to hard-charging DeBeque, 26-24, 25-20, 25-18. The key, said Garvey, was a tough loss in Game 1.
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“I think having lost the first game that late in the evening turned the momentum,” he said. “We came out down, 18-8, in the second game. If we win that first game, I don’t know. What could have been a big win became a big loss, and it went downhill from there.”
Ironically, Garvey felt his team was playing its best volleyball of the year against Vail Christian and Norwood in pool play.
VMS started the tournament by rolling Norwood, 25-10, 25-13, 25-23.
“We were clicking on all cylinders,” Garvey said. “More than anything else, Norwood played a tough third game. We just stepped up their game, which is good to see in districts.”
Not only did VMS close out Norwood in three, but that gave Garvey an opportunity to play freshmen Georgia Wettlaufer and Lani Bruntz, who both performed well.
VMS won its pool by taking Vail Christian in four games, 23-25, 25-21, 25-17, 25-17.
“It was great to see Vail Christian again,” Garvey said. “Their blocking again presented us with some problems. It was probably midway through the second game that the girls looked at the blocking and started hitting the holes instead of trying to hit the ball as hard as they could through the block.
“Katie Wear played the game of her life, and the same could be said of Lauren Utzig. Lara Green was also playing great.”
Lest we forget, the big three of Aubrie Apple, Cely Brinkmann and Lindsay Wright were doing their thing also.
Vail Mountain finishes the season with an 11-10 record, which may be disappointing to some, given the high standard the program has set in the last two seasons. But, Garvey considers the season a success.
“We were really pleased,” he said. “We had a new group. I think everyone else might have had different expectations. We felt we had a good season. We finished in second place in league and had a chance to advance. We have nothing to hang our heads about. We have everyone coming back, except for one (Utzig). We’re just going to keep working.”
Garvey also offered congratulations to Vail Christian for advancing to regionals.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “Obviously, the ideal plan was that they wanted us to come with them. That would have been special. Perhaps, next year.”
Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at email@example.com.