On Tuesday, Sept. 3, the Lady Devils took on the Monticello Buckaroos at Moab. Monticello won the first two sets, 28-26 and 25-21, but the Lady Devils recovered to win the third set, 25-18. Monticello then won the fourth and deciding set by the score of 25-19 to take the match.
Sydney Lema led the Lady Devils with six kills during the match, and also recorded a team-high nine digs. Lexi Risenhoover added four blocks, while Brook Schultz had six assists for Grand. Tiffanie Whipple served 11 points, including two aces.
Then, on Thursday, Sept. 5, the Lady Devils traveled to Dove Creek, Colo., to face the Lady Bulldogs. Dove Creek won the first set 25-16, but Grand won the next one, 25-23. Dove Creek then won the remaining two sets 25-19 and 25-23 to clinch the match.
At the Dove Creek match, sophomore Talaunee Croasmun recorded two aces, Lema had 14 kills, and Jessica Valdes had 12 assists. Risenhoover and Kasey Betts also combined for 13 blocks, according to GCHS head coach Deb Hren.
Hren didn’t attend the Dove Creek match because she had flown to Mississippi to attend homecoming and alumni events at her alma mater, the University of Mississippi. Hren played college volleyball for the Lady Rebels some years ago.
“Ole Miss was amazing,” she said. “It was awesome to see teammates I hadn’t seen for 20 years. I’m so thankful for a supportive and strong coaching staff that allowed me the opportunity to attend. I had bought my plane ticket way back in January and struggled with the decision whether to attend or not when (GCHS’s) homecoming was scheduled during the same week.”
Hren said she got to attend Ole Miss’s homecoming football game before returning to Moab.
The Lady Devils will play their first region match of the season at home this Friday, Sept. 13, when they face the Gunnison Bulldogs. The varsity match is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. The following afternoon, on Saturday, Sept. 14, the Lady Devils will again face Dove Creek, this time at Moab. That varsity match is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
Despite the early losses, Hren says she has high hopes for her team this season.
“Sydney Lema and Kasey Betts are just all-around strong players in hitting, blocking, serving and defense. Jessica Valdes is setting very well,” Hren said. “We are so strong overall and so deep on the bench.”
Hren said the Lady Devils have a tendency to start off a little slow at each contest. “We get in our heads too much,” she said. “We need to put away the doubt and trust ourselves, and take the floor confidently.”