Potent Eagle Valley spoils Skiers’ home opener
ASPEN – Sporting walking boots to protect their sprained ankles, Aspen starters Bailey Everhart and Shannon Peirce lounged on the bench during Tuesday’s volleyball home opener. Even if the Skiers had been at full strength, it likely would not have mattered against high-powered Eagle Valley.The Devils, the odds-on favorites to win a third consecutive 4A Western Slope crown this fall, made quick work of overmatched Aspen (0-2). Eagle Valley capitalized on its depth and distinct size advantage to jump out to a 15-4, Game 1 lead. It was rarely tested from there, cruising to a 25-7, 25-16, 25-20 victory in a match that lasted little more than an hour. “The girls were nervous. They’re not used to getting the ball pounded at them from all angles all the time,” Skiers head coach Clay Dahlman said. “Shawn [Weatherred] is a great coach. He’s got those girls really well tuned. They’re going to have great success in their league.”Aspen’s efforts to hang with the favored Devils (2-0) were compounded in the early going by a bevy of unforced errors. During one nine-point stretch, the Skiers committed seven miscues – most on shots that sailed long and wide – to help Eagle Valley pull ahead by 11.After a timeout and an Aspen point, the Devils closed on a 10-2 spurt to seal Game 1.Many Eagle Valley starters – among them 2009 all-league selection Alex Lassa and junior Kelsey VanGoey – watched Game 2 from the sideline. The Skiers still struggled to keep pace. Erin Burnett and Becca VanVoorst produced consecutive blocks to give the Devils a 22-15 advantage. Burnett converted a kill that clipped the net, and Maddy McGinty served up an ace down the stretch for Eagle Valley, which won by nine to take a commanding two-game lead.”Their injuries were unfortunate. It would’ve been a little better contest,” Weatherred said. “It was good to get all of our players some experience. Down the road, we’re going to need everybody.””We’re going one step at a time. It’s a long haul. We have 17 more [games] before anything happens.”Burnett, Lassa and McGinty converted consecutive kills in Game 3, helping the Devils build a 7-2 lead. That advantage ballooned to 14-3 after multiple Skiers miscues.Aspen, which finished 0-19 last season, cut into the deficit down the stretch but could pull no closer than five. “This is a different team, more well-rounded with more leadership. … We’re seeing little glimpses of brilliance with this group,” said Dahlman, whose squad dropped Saturday’s season opener in Olathe. “[Playing a 4A school] gives us the chance to see some great, early competition – that can only prepare us for our league.”The Skiers host rival Basalt at 6 p.m. Thursday.email@example.com
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