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Evergreen dominates

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By Brian Forbes

The Cougars are coming off arguably their best game of the season, just in time for the most important part of their season.

Evergreen routed Summit in three games Oct. 16 to finish the volleyball regular season on a three-match win streak. Next up is a re-aligned district tournament this weekend that will pit the Cougars against some tough competition and a familiar face – Conifer.

The Cougars were crisp and efficient against Summit, despite getting little production out of senior setter/hitter Nicole Gruber (shoulder), who has been the Cougars’ steadying force in most games.

Kate Oakes was crushing the ball, Abbie Krane was blocking, Heather Healy was setting, Jessica Wolverton was blasting serves, Sydney Berdon was passing and Kim Lownds, Katie Helf and Christy Lewis were all scrambling and earning points.

“I don’t know where that team has been hiding all season, but they finally showed up,” coach Katie Ryan said laughing. “They did really well.”

The 25-13, 25-15, 25-16 Class 4A Jefferson County League victory had a much sweeter aftertaste than Evergreen’s win over Arvada two games prior. In that match, the Cougars were not in synch and benefited greatly from the Reds’ miscues.

“It was great because we really won because we played a good game,” Wolverton said. “It wasn’t their errors.”

The Cougars (6-12, 5-5 Jeffco) earned the seventh seed out of league for the 48-team district tournament. Evergreen is in District 1, which will be hosted by Berthoud and includes Denver West, Conifer, Longmont and Thompson Valley.

Summit dropped to 3-14, 3-7 in Jeffco.

Evergreen and Summit remained close in the first game until the Cougars went up 10-9 and soon handed the ball to Wolverton to serve.

The senior had 11 straight service winners, six of which were never returned to the Evergreen side of the net, as she powered Evergreen out to a 23-10 advantage.

The Cougars got three kills from Wolverton in the second game and took over at 8-7 en route to an easy 25-15 victory.

By the third game the Cougars were rolling and Oakes had her jumps timed to perfection. The left-handed junior had four kills in the game and nearly all of them saw her simply tattoo the ball at the Tigers.

Evergreen grabbed the lead at 2-1 and was up 21-13 on a floor-denting kill by Oakes before winning the game 25-16.

With eight seniors playing volleyball in their home gym for the last time, the Cougars left on a high note.

“Boy, did they show up,” Ryan said.