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EHS volleyball team slumping entering Jeffco tourney

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By Craig Harper
For the Courier

The Evergreen volleyball team began last week walking on air, poised to finish off an unbeaten season in 4A Jeffco League play and carry that momentum into this week’s conference tournament.
Instead, the Lady Cougars fell back to earth and dropped to the No. 3 seed with a pair of losses, beginning with a potentially demoralizing 3-0 road loss to Green Mountain on Oct. 8 that clinched a second-straight regular-season league championship for the Lady Rams.
Things didn’t look much better two nights later when Evergreen dropped the first two sets to visiting Golden. What’s worse, “We played the same way we played’’ against Green Mountain, said Lady Cougars first-year coach Andrea Wood.
Fortunately, Evergreen may have recouped some of its good karma despite the loss. The Cougars won the next two sets and were up 6-0 and serving with the score tied at 13 in the fifth before bowing 15-13. Evergreen tied Golden for second place in the standings at 5-2, but the Lady Demons earned the No. 2 seed in the tournament with the win.
“The second half of (the Golden match) was awesome,’’ Wood said. “We just started playing together as a team. Our motto was dig deep, which we did. And our middles did a really great job.’’
Wood was singing a different tune after Green Mountain rolled the Cougars 25-21, 25-19, 25-17. “I’m not disappointed with the loss; I’m disappointed with the way we played,’’ she said. “I have high expectations for them and expectations for the level of play, especially at the end of the season. And they just didn’t do that. So I think it’s good for them that they need to think about where we are, where we need to go.’’
Besides, Wood added, “It’s better to lose now than in a tournament. This is our red light to start working harder.’’
Evergreen had no answer for Green Mountain outside hitter Dani Potter, who had 17 of the Rams’ 32 kills and a .459 kill percentage. Claudie Wall and Hanna Bailey had eight kills apiece and Andrea Eddy and Erin Solis added six apiece for the Lady Cougars. But, said Wood, “We made lots of errors, missing serves, missing hits.’’
The good news is Evergreen might get opportunities for redemption against both Green Mountain and Golden in the league tournament. The Lady Cougars played host to Wheat Ridge, a team they beat 3-0 on Oct. 1, in the Oct. 15 tournament opener. A win likely would send them to Golden on Oct. 17. The title game follows on Oct. 19.
“I’m looking at it as if you win the tournament, you’re the champion of the league,’’ Wood said. “After seeing all the teams for the first time, I think they’re all beatable.’’