Mustangs begin busy week on right foot
West Grand cruises in second home game of the spring season
After four games on the road, West Grand volleyball took on a thin De Beque squad Monday at home and had some room to work.
West Grand easily defeated De Beque in three sets. Depleted in numbers, De Beque made the trip with only five players, and Mustangs coach Andrew Mericle commended the Dragons for showing heart.
“We just saw this match as we wanted to get the win, but we also wanted to work on some things,” said Mericle, explaining that the Mustangs were trying out a few new things on offense, shoring up some other things they need to work on and trying to get a couple younger players more playing time.
As a result, the West Grand crowd saw sophomore Lily Butler playing libero on the court, which wasn’t the case in West Grand’s first home game. Mericle said the goal with the addition of a libero is to help free up junior Audree Miller for the Mustangs’ front line attack.
“We’re trying to get Audree some help in the back row because we need her in the front row fresh,” Mericle said.
How important is it to have Miller playing on the front?
“Big time,” he replied. “She’s a lefty, and some of our opponents are not fully ready for her. She has got a big swing and a lot of power, so we like to have all her energy on the front row.”
After the game, the coach also commended Butler’s play as well.
West Grand opened the spring volleyball season with a victory over North Park. The Mustangs then dropped four straight games, playing on both Friday and Saturday in back to back weeks, with three of those on the road.
With Monday’s victory over De Beque, the Mustangs improved to 2-4 this season.
This week is a big one for the Mustangs. West Grand plays back to back at home with Rangely on Thursday and Plateau Valley on Friday. Then West Grand travels to Olathe for a contest Saturday.
“We got three tough matches Thursday, Friday and Saturday so we were really trying to get everybody involved (on Monday),” Mericle said.
He added that seven of the Mustangs’ last nine games are at home, and they’re hoping that will give the team a boost.
“We feel the difference,” Mericle said of playing at home. “We get quite a few (of our fans) on the road, but not like we do here. That’s an intangible that we really hope will help us, that is having more games to finish the season.”
After this week, West Grand and Middle Park will collide in the teams’ cross-county purple rivalry game. That’s April 13 in Kremmling. West Grand then has another home matchup against Vail Mountain on April 16.
Not all stats from every game were available by Tuesday morning, but with most games reported, junior Alex Schake leads the Mustangs in kills, blocks and digs. Other team leaders in kills are Maddy Probst, Miller and Sage Lechman. Miller also leads the team in aces, while Allison Daly and Lechman lead the team in assists.
Two sophomores — Morgan Nelson and Elisabet Buller — have also been logging strong minutes on varsity and been playing important roles for the young team.
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After their soccer game Saturday, the Grand County Wildcats suited up for a very different type of game.