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VMS finishes a perfect regular season

In big blue letters, they said, “VMS Volleyball 2002 Mountain Conference Champions.”

The Gore Rangers made the T-shirts a reality, rolling to a 15-3, 15-5 win over Ridgway, completing an undefeated (17-0) regular season. It was an appropriate send-off for the team’s four seniors – Lara “Tree” Bossow, Maggie Haslee, Tiffany Allan and Juli Littman – in their final home game.

And, you probably couldn’t find four, more proud people in the Peter Abuisi Center Saturday than the moms of those seniors.

“I’m very excited. It’s been an incredible four years for Tree,” said Mara Garton, Bossow’s mother. “We’re just so happy with the growth of the team, the growth of Tree and we really want to thank the Vail Mountain School.”

Each year, high school teams in countless sports bid goodbye to their seniors and it’s a special moment for every senior and their families. But what this quartet has done in four, short years is downright impressive.

When Allan, Bossow, Haslee and Littman joined the program their freshman year, the team had gone 0-14 the previous season. Now, the Gore Rangers are unbeaten, league champs and a legitimate threat to win the 1A state title.

“I’m excited for them for starting a tradition of volleyball at the Vail Mountain School,” Lorraine Haslee said. “I think that’s awesome, especially for young girls coming up. Soccer is deep-seated into the Vail Mountain School and it’s fun to have something offered for the girls. I’m also excited for these girls because some of them have played together for more than four years. It’s fun to watch them grow as players and young women.”

“Growing as players” is a phrase which would certainly apply to Littman. The senior’s first sport is alpine skiing, but she has grown each year with the team, giving the Gore Rangers another potent hitter.

In fact, Saturday’s game was Littman’s first with the team in quite some time, due to skiing commitments. But Littman slipped into the lineup and never missed a beat against Ridgway.

“She’s real good at doing that,” Darlynne Littman said. “She seems totally comfortable with it. She’s happy to be wherever she is at the moment and just really focuses and zeroes in.”

If there were a vote for VMS MVP, at first glance, it wouldn’t be surprising if it were a Tree landslide. But Allan merits substantial consideration. She’s the traffic cop, which makes VMS volleyball go as the team’s setter.

Of course, none of this is a surprise to her mom, Sandra.

“I think Tiffany’s work ethic in everything she approaches is strong,” Allan said. “That makes me the proudest. When she makes up her mind to do something, it’s always full-throttle.”

Amid all the celebration, there was a tinge of sadness, though. The final home game was the first of, hopefully, many final events for these seniors, a fact not lost on these mothers. The parents, like the team itself, have bonded.

“Actually, we have probably too much fun together,” Garton joked. “We’re a great group. Tim (Garton) and I will definitely miss not being a part of it next year.”

And then there are the Haslees, Fred and Lorraine, who will not have a child playing high school volleyball for the first time since the mid-1990s. (Laura graduated from Battle Mountain in 2000.)

“People have asked me and I said that the Haslees will have to get a life as a couple,” Lorraine joked.

Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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