VMS ready for run in 2A Slope
EAST VAIL ” The Vail Mountain School volleyball team’s practice shirts have last names on their backs.
It’s really not necessary. Everybody should know everyone by now.
VMS has a school-record seven seniors, and only three underclassmen on the 14-player varsity squad.
And that gives the Gore Rangers, who went 5-15 in their first foray at the 2A level last year, a lot of reasons for optimism when the season opens Saturday with a tournament in Aspen.
“When we’re bringing kids off the bench, you’re not bringing in youth,” said coach Mike Garvey, who’s in his 11th year at VMS. “They’re people who have been there. The way we understand the game, I’m not going over basic things. The girls are making the adjustments on their own. It just shows the level of volleyball that they’re playing at.”
“We all have been around here a while,” said senior setter Molly Etters. “We all have experience just because we can work as a big team of seniors to bring everyone together.”
The Garven should be a fun place in 2007. Not only do the Gore Rangers have eight home games, much more than last year, but VMS very realistically can move up in the 2A Slope. Despite a 5-15 record, the Gore Rangers were 3-5 in league play last year.
Reason No. 1 is Etters is a senior. When your quarterback has four years of varsity experience, good things will happen.
“We came in and we told everybody, ‘Every position is open, including that of captain.’ We were only reminded of the kind of leader she is,” Garvey said. “The girls have set some high expectations and Molly knows how to get there. That’s something that nobody else possesses. She’s been there, done that.”
“Been there, done that” refers to VMS’ last state appearance as a 1A school in 2005, and the setter on that team just happened to be Pepper and Jon Etters’ younger sis.
Etters has plenty of options with Elsie Macsata (right-side), Christiana White (outside), Chanda Wilcox (middle), Lynnie Somes (outside), Ande Brill (outside) and Kelsey Peck (outside).
Cynthia Edgarton, Hilarie Bellis and Catherine Fontanese will shuttle between the varsity and the JV.
What’s exciting Garvey in preseason is the team’s defense led by libero Adi Slifer and Axie Navas and Amy Malouk.
“Right now, I’m really pleased with our defense,” Garvey said. “I think we’re getting to the point where we can be more powerful and consistent on offense. We’re just waiting on to have the consistent power.”
As if on cue, just after Garvey finished saying this Wednesday, Somes cracked a kill over the net.
VMS opens the season with Aspen, Roaring Fork and Eagle Valley at Saturday’s tournament. There’s no word yet on whether Devils assistant coach Lara Bossow might suit up for either Eagle Valley or VMS.
The Gore Rangers will continue their tough schedule by opening at home Sept. 7 against 3A Colorado Academy. VMS plays only three 1A schools, and two of them went to the state tournament last year ” North Park and Vail Christian. The Gore Rangers’ annual rumble with the Saints is Oct. 19 in Edwards.
A key weekend will be Sept. 21-22, when VMS hosts Meeker and Rangely, the two favorites in the 2A Slope until someone proves otherwise, on back-to-back days.
But VMS hopes not only to compete for a Slope crown, but its first appearance at the 2A state tournament at the Denver Coliseum.
“State is definitely in the back of my mind and I know it’s definitely back of everybody else’s mind,” Etters said. “Having gone there once, I know the feeling and what it takes to get there. I want it so bad.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.