Basalt star Dayne Toney snubbed
BASALT Surprise. Shock. Disappointment.When Basalt volleyball coach Clay Dahlman attempts to explain how star player Dayne Toney was not the 3A Western Slope coaches’ choice for player of the year, these three words inevitably surface.”It seemed so clear to me,” Dahlman said Thursday. “I would like to stamp all of Dayne’s statistics back into their minds. … I would plead a little harder to remind them how terrifying it was to play against her and how hard it was to stop her.”Maybe it was timing that worked against Toney. Just days before coaches met to discuss all-league selections, the regular-season Slope champion Longhorns failed to advance to the district tournament final after falling to Olathe. Or maybe it was something bigger, Dahlman speculated.”Perhaps it was a matter of something they had against us,” Dahlman said. “When the best team bloodies and beats everybody, perhaps coaches might wind up holding that against you.”I look at the results, and we beat up on the rest of the league under Dayne’s leadership. … I know in my eyes that she’s hands down the league MVP, whether she was selected or not.”Despite going 13-1 in the league and 22-4 overall – it was one game from clinching a second straight trip to the state tournament – Basalt missed out on the conference’s two biggest postseason accolades. Coal Ridge junior Chloe Nelson was named player of the year, and Olathe’s Dan Rosentreter took home coach of the year honors. The consolation? Six Longhorns received postseason recognition. Three players – Toney and juniors Shelby Holmes and Heather Nemiec – were first-team selections; seniors Kat Fitzpatrick and Alia Munger and sophomore Kehau Vegas were honorable mentions. Dahlman lobbied for Toney at the all-league meetings; the senior’s production spoke for itself. Her 361 kills were at or near the top of 3A. She racked up 83 solo and assisted blocks, led the team with 345 digs and was a constant concern for the opposition. She was also one of five Longhorns with 33 or more aces. “She was an incredibly dominant force,” Dahlman said. “She proved she is in a league with the best players in the state.”Holmes and Nemiec were honorable mentions last season but were somewhat overshadowed by their older siblings; Bailey Holmes and Liz Nemiec were two-time first team selections. Both Shelby and Heather distinguished themselves early and often in 2007.Holmes provided balance and consistency from outside hitter, compiling 165 kills. Her 329 digs were second on the team. Nemiec dominated in the service game, recording 52 aces, and dug 300 balls as the anchor on the back row. She also pitched in with 90 kills.”She dominated defensively. In that last match [against Faith Christian], she was digging balls that never should’ve been touched,” Dahlman said. “She carried a spirit and a real positive influence. The girls depend on her to keep them stable and positive.”Fitzpatrick, the Slope soccer MVP and all-conference guard, proved she could hold her own on the volleyball court, too. In her first varsity season, Fitzpatrick teamed with Toney, Holmes and Nicole Booth to create a formidable front line. She killed 100 balls and added 41 aces in 82 games.Munger, a defensive specialist, dug 206 balls and recorded 50 aces – gaudy numbers considering she was on the court about half the time, Dahlman said.The loss of setter Liz Nemiec was a glaring concern for Basalt entering this season. Vegas turned the position into one of the team’s strengths. She assisted on 525 plays, dug 221 balls and led the team with 53 aces.”What a gift,” Dahlman said. “She assisted the teammates with putting the ball down and was big with her serving to different positions, back and short.”Dahlman said he was delighted a group of his younger players were recognized. That joy paled in comparison, however, to his frustration concerning Toney.”[The league] did Dayne a disservice by not honoring her,” Dahlman said. “She was the leader of Basalt for four years on the varsity squad. Everyone had a good look at what made Basalt so strong the last couple of years.”Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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