Hayden volleyball team takes down Vail Mountain School, 3-1 | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden volleyball team takes down Vail Mountain School, 3-1

Olivia Zehner celebrates the Hayden Tigers 3-1 victory against Vail Mountain School on Tuesday night in Hayden. Thanks to the win
John F. Russell

— It took four games Tuesday night inside the Hayden High School gymnasium for the Tigers girls volleyball team to secure a spot in the next round of the district playoffs, which will take place this weekend in Rangely.

After the match, senior Morgan Bell left the court inspired by the 3-1 win against Vail Mountain School (5-14) and optimistic about Hayden’s chances of finding more success in the next round.

“The last couple of games, we’ve been kind of slow, and we’ve just been watching the ball come over,” Bell said “We’ve been watching the game more than playing it, but I think this match was a turnaround. We played so much better.”

The Tigers came out on top of a hard-fought match against the visiting Gore Rangers. Hayden and Vail Mountain School went back and forth in the first game before the Tigers pulled away to a 25-21 win down the stretch. But in the second, the Gore Rangers got strong play at the net and powerful hitting from senior Clare Elich to keep the Tigers off balance. Vail Mountain led the game the whole way and held off a late Hayden run to win, 25-23.

“We had our energy up, but we made a lot of mistakes,” Bell said.

Hayden coach Greg Johnson said the Tigers were able to rebound after losing the second game and eliminate the mistakes that had hurt the team the rest of the way. The Tigers rallied in the third game en route to a 25-20 win and rolled to victory in the final game, 25-16.

“I have to give a lot of credit to Hayden; they played really well and overcame a lot of the things that we were trying to do,” Vail Mountain coach Mike Garvey said. “They picked the ball up really well. I felt like our servers did a good job, but Hayden was able to pass the ball effectively, and over the course of the match, we just could not put enough pressure on them to win.”

Hayden’s Erin Koehler led the Tigers’ attack with four kills. The junior also had four blocks in the game. The combination of Koehler and fellow junior Aubree Haskins, who had three kills and three blocks, forced Vail Mountain to hit around those players at the net. Elich found some success, but in the third and fourth games, Hayden’s scrappy receiving game helped the home team pull away.

“We just refocused and got the next two wins,” Hayden’s Lindsay Parrott said.

The Tigers also got solid performances from Parrott, setter Delanie VeDepo and Brette Frentress, who still was shaking off an illness.

“Brette was sick last night, but she had a huge game for us today,” Johnson said.

The Tigers, who finished the regular season at 10-9 will advance along with top seed Rangely, the Soroco Rams and the winner of Tuesday’s match between Paonia and Meeker this weekend in a round robin tournament. Hayden’s first game is against Soroco. The top two teams advance to the regional tournament.

“We are just going to play exactly like we did tonight, and we hope everything will come fall in place,” Parrott said.

The loss marked the end of the season for the Vail Mountain School team.

— To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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