VMS spikers, booters return to work | VailDaily.com

VMS spikers, booters return to work

Chris Freud

n Welcome to VMS volleyball, the sequel. Mike Garvey’s crew returns Lara “Tree” Bossow, Maggie Haslee, Tiffany Allan and Julie Littman from a 23-6 squad in 2001. The Gore Rangers hope to return to the Denver Coliseum, where they reached the 1A semifinals last year.

“The biggest thing we look at is that we set the bar last year,” Garvey said. “Now we have to work really hard to stay there because that expectation has been set. But it’s a fun challenge.”

n Of course, there’s one more fan on the VMS volleyball bandwagon. Welcome to Keegan Garvey, born to the coach and his wife Melissa on May 20.

n There are other young ‘uns around the Peter Abuisi Center. Say hello to Cely Brinkman, Lindsay Wright and Aubrey Apple, froshes who have made an impression so far. Then there are the likes of Katie Wear, Zoie Liotta, Anna Smith and Lauren Utzig, all of which bodes well for the future.

n There’s no doubt about it. The spikers are potent on the attack. So the No. 1 goal for 2002 is defense.

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“Our goal for the season is working on the defense from the net on back,” Garvey said. “So blocking, more consistency in our serve-receive, which is an aspect of defense and just playing more balls up with more consistency.”

n Of course, goal No. 1(a) is to have some fun. And, judging by the atmosphere in practice Wednesday afternoon, I don’t think that’s a problem. Lighten up, ladies.

n VMS isn’t the only volleyball show in town. The CU Buffs are in town for some high-altitude training. Because of NCAA/CHSAA rules, the two teams can’t practice together, but the Gore Rangers are attending Buffs practice as spectators. If the Buffs return in 2003, consider it a reunion, given that Tree will be trading blue and white for black and gold after committing to CU this summer.

n Save the date: Homecoming 2002 in East Vail is Oct. 12. Volleyball has Ouray and the the booters host Paonia. Other important dates for the spikers include two with DeBeque (Sept. 17 and Oct. 8), two with Crested Butte (Sept. 7), Aspen (Aug. 29) and Eagle Valley (Sept. 26).

n So, how ’bout them Cowboys, Mike?: “It can’t go much worse than last year,” he said. “The one thing is that Emmitt Smith is going to be the all-time rusher by the end of the season.” We’ll put you down for 6-10, Mike.

n It’s not a school-sanctioned sport, but a nod to VMS junior Jeff List, whose exploits in club tennis should be noted.

“He’s an exceptional tennis player,” VMS AD Jamie Farquhar said. “He works as hard as any athlete in our school.”

n Jamie, your gut feeling on the 2002 Purple People Eaters?

“The Vikings are going to surprise,” he said. “They’ll go 10-6 before their traditional first-round exit.”

n Stepping just outside Farquhar’s office, Team Synergy, a.k.a the soccer team, is engaged in two-a-days. If coach/maestro/soccer guru/grand wizard Bob Bandoni had it in him, he would say, “Aw, shucks, golly gee. We’re just taking it one game at a time and, good lord willing, it will work out fine.”

But Bandon being Bandon, he submits the following: “There are really no conspicuous players in our program who are going to stand out. So one of the challenges is going to be how unified we can be around a system and style of play. It will be a challenge shared by all.”

What that means, for those not fluent in Bandon-ese, is that VMS lost a bunch to graduation – Wade Cheatham, Andrew McConathy, Tyler Croke, George Streeter, Jon Etters and Barclay Rabin – and will be looking to some of the remaining vets as well as some sophs to pick up the slack.

n Bandoni did not get downright Lou Holtz-ian, by saying, “This is the toughest CRMS team we’ve ever seen.” The truth probably is that VMS will be battling it out with the likes of Aspen, Basalt and Roaring Fork for the third and final state berth in the 3A Slope.

n Reason for optimism No. 1: the seniors – Andrew Feldman, David Bird, Clay Jewitt, Drew Daly and A.J. LeGaye. They’re taking over the leadership load.

“It’s new and different, but it’s also fun. It’s a lot more responsibility. Some of the the other players are more dependent on me and it’s a bigger role. But I’m looking forward to it,” Feldman said. “I’ve learned a lot from previous seniors – Slade (Cogswell), Wade (Cheatham) or any of the others – on how to conduct myself on and off the field with the team. They taught good lessons.”

n It should be noted that whenever Bandoni mentions David Bird, the senior’s name is followed by the phrase “as in Larry.” Natch.

n Don’t forget the juniors: Ian Talbot, Howdy Tuthill, Blake Higgins, Duncan Robinson, Sean Eno, Josh Smith, Christian Nagel and Ben Cope.

n Speaking of Cope – no relation to the Battle Mountain coach – there’s a three-way battle for the keeper’s job among Cope, Michael Busenhart and freshman Hunter Thompson. (And, no, I don’t know what Hunter’s middle initial is.)

n Mark your calendars, part II: Battle Mountain (Sept. 3), Eagle Valley (Sept. 19 and Oct. 3) and Aspen (Sept. 5 and Oct. 5).

n Finally, we tempt the fates. Bandoni, your thoughts on the Patriots and the Red Sox?

“It always worries me when a team wins a championship as a dark horse. It worries me with how that affects their psychology. I just hope they’re eating a lot of Italian food. I do worry about the ghost of Drew Bledsoe. But the bottom line is that I still believe in the BoSox. It has got to happen. I cannot start the school, as I have have started previous school years, with the pressure of dealing with the Red Sox follies. It’s time for them to step up.”

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

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