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Who’s in and who’s out in the playoff chase?

The next week will be huge

Grace Engleby and the Vail Christian volleyball team are a delightful surprise in the playoff chase for a 2A regional tournament. (Daily file photo)

Quickly, who’s the No. 2-ranked team in 2A volleyball?

The Vail Christian Saints. We are really surprised that the Head of School Steve O’Neil has not given us a call about this or, at least, rented out a plane to sky-write the news for Eagle County and the Western Slope.

With that in mind, where does everyone stand in volleyball and soccer with a week left for the spikers and three days left for the booters?



Please note that the rankings used are rating-percentage index, maxpreps.com and the Chsaanow.com Poll, the three factors to determine postseason bids and seedings in the playoffs. Twenty-four teams make regionals on May 1 in volleyball, while 16 squads qualify for the soccer postseason, which starts Wednesday.

All local teams have also played enough games/matches to be postseason eligible or seem to be on pace. (Knock on wood.)



Volleyball

Vail Christian (RPI: 2; Max: 2; Coaches: 7)

Wow. At 6-0, the rebuild continues at Vail Christian. Please remember that then-fresh-people of the current team were 0-19 in 2017. This is going under the radar.

Hey, look at that. Vail Christian and Vail Mountain are at the top of the 2A Slope.

The Saints, like every other volleyball team, have a ton of games to play — five matches in nine days — but they look like they’re in good shape. If you’re thinking league title in Edwards, Vail Christian’s at Meeker April 24.

Barring something crazy, the Saints should return to the postseason, another happy sign that this program is heading in the right direction.

Vail Mountain (11-8-12)

If Vail Christian wants a league title, it’s going to have to go through Vail Mountain. The Gore Rangers host the Saints on April 23. If this is starting to sound like basketball season on a loop, well, yes, it’s pretty similar. We’ll know something’s up if Caleb Florence and Sheldon Kuhns are throwing volleyballs at each other on the sideline.

Vail Mountain’s 7-2 record may not be as pretty as Vail Christian’s, but please note that the Gore Rangers took Meeker to five, losing the fifth 15-13. VMS can play with anyone after that. If you’re wondering, Meeker is ranked 3-4-1 in the three indices, so it’s a contender for the No. 1 seed in regionals.

VMS is going to be handful for anyone.

Despite being in COVID quarantine, Eagle Valley volleyball is in a position to host a regional tournament, if it can get back on the court. Meanwhile, Battle Mountain is on the bubble with a week to play. (Daily file photo)

Battle Mountain (29-24-31)

The Huskies are squarely on the bubble with a reduced regional field of 24. At 6-4, Battle Mountain has three matches left on the slate and probably needs to run the table to be on the safe side.

Of greater concern is attrition at the middle-block position where injuries have taken their toll.

Eagle Valley (4-7-7)

Yes, we’re in a holding pattern here, due to COVID quarantine. Please remember that at 8-1 the Devils have the minimum games required for the postseason — eight. They’re holding their collective seed — under our COVID-season format, the top eight teams host regionals — so that’s good.

The biggest challenge is getting to a healthy, safe situation with COVID while still getting to play a few matches next week before the postseason. Eagle Valley can survive a COVID quarantine, particularly if they get a minimum of two matches next week. (We’d settle for one, quite frankly.)

Stay tuned.

Soccer

Battle Mountain (4-3-3)

As the league champs, the Huskies have qualified. The bigger question is can they land a top four seed?

A win over Eagle Valley on Thursday night probably does the trick.

Sam Koontz (12) and Battle Mountain soccer are in the playoffs, but still have a huge game against Eagle Valley on Thursday at 6 p.m. in Edwards. (Daily file photo)

Eagle Valley (42-39-Not ranked)

This team is a prime example of a team getting the short end of the stick due to COVID-19. At first glance, 4-4 is the definition of average. On the other hand, if the Devils can win one of their two last games — at Battle Mountain Thursday or home for Summit on Saturday — they will match their win total from last year from a 15-game season in 10 games.

I want to see this team play a regular 15-game schedule — and we’ll get the chance with a reasonable facsimile in four months. If the Devils had the luxury of a normal season with some nonconference games this year, they’d likely have accelerated their play within the Slope. The Devils would also probably be sitting on 8-9 wins right and be in playoff contention.

And for those of you who think I attended Battle Mountain — I grew up in San Francisco, people — that I like Battle Mountain better or even have a Huskies tattoo (Under the category of TMI: Your reporter has no tats; not even a Giants one.) as a sign of my devotion to all things Huskies, I don’t care. Get over it. I’m about good stories and, man, would it be a good story if the Devils pull the upset on Thursday.

Vail Mountain (19-16-21)

Bubbly. In a normal year with 32 teams in the field, the Gore Rangers are already planning to break out the orange. One would hope the 4-2 Gore Rangers would get a lift with wins against Roaring Fork on Thursday and Aspen Saturday to work up to the neighborhood of No. 16.

VMS’s only two losses are to Coal Ridge (rankings: 5-5-4). Those are not bad losses, but still may end up hurting VMS’s quest for orange.

Football

Just for kicks: Remember that part of the state is playing right now, including teams that are on the radar for Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley.

Glenwood Springs, a Slope opponent the Huskies and Devils traditionally see every fall, is 4-0 and ranked No. 2 in the state, according to the coaches’ poll. The Demons host Rifle (3-1) this week. Glenwood also beat Basalt (3-1) last week. Aspen (2-2) is No. 7 in the CHSAA poll.


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