Eagle Valley tops GJ in volleyball
It’s been customary in the past couple of years for the Grand Junction High School volleyball team to get off to a slow start and find itself having to battle back in games.
“We’ve got to get out of that,” Tigers coach Lynette Robinson said Thursday after her team’s 25-21, 25-19, 18-25, 25-21 loss to Eagle Valley in its season opener at Grand Junction.
Accurate passing and flow seemed in short order in the first couple of games as Grand Junction struggled to get in a rhythm offensively.
“We’ve just got to communicate better,” Tigers outside hitter Lauren Gadeken said.
Gadeken was correct. Once the Tigers started doing a better job of that in the third game, their play improved.
With Grand Junction’s main gymnasium unavailable for the first couple of weeks of practice because of some final touch-up details for the school year, all three volleyball teams were forced to practice in the smaller gym.
“This is the first week we’ve been able to use two nets,” Robinson said of a stymied practice plan.
It led to some first-game rotation errors that cost Grand Junction points.
Robinson was unable to work on some of the offensive attacks she is hoping to install this season, so her emphasis for the first game was on defense.
The Tigers got their first-game jitters out of the way and began taking a look at Eagle Valley’s alignment.
“We played smarter,” Gadeken said. “Once we found out there was a big hole in the middle, we started to tip it there.”
That plan worked well in the third game, but by the fourth game, the Devils made some adjustments and tightened up their defense. The Tigers couldn’t find a way to counter Eagle Valley outside hitter Alex Lassa, who led all players with 16 kills.
Gadeken said the Tigers weren’t discouraged after losing the first two games.
“We didn’t get down on ourselves,” she said.
“They fought back,” Robinson said.
She was pleased with the play of her two starting sophomores, Kricket Adleman and Jamie Derrieux. Adleman led the team with nine kills and played a strong defensive game with 18 digs.
By the same token, she’s hoping the team can figure out how not to dig itself into an early hole.
“This was the same thing we did last year,” Robinson said.
Grand Junction heads to Glenwood Springs today for the start of the two-day Demon Invitational and a chance to work out some of the early-season kinks.
Robinson is convinced that if the Tigers continue to cover the open areas on its side of the floor, things will open up on the opponents’ side.
“We have to rely on defense,” she said. “The offense will come.”