Summit High School volleyball looks to reset after homecoming loss |

Summit High School volleyball looks to reset after homecoming loss

Tigers home match against Eagle Valley was first with fans in stands in 2 years

Summit High School senior Bella Speer delivers the ball past a set of leaping Devils defenders during the Tigers' match against the Eagle Valley Devils on Monday, Sept. 20, at Summit High School in Breckenridge.
John Hanson/For the Summit Daily News

The Summit High School varsity girls volleyball team struggled in their first home game of the season — and the first home game in front of fans in two years — Monday night in Breckenridge, Sept. 20, losing to Eagle Valley in straight sets.

“It’s always fun, and I think the girls love it,” Tigers second-year head coach Lex Zangari said of playing in front of the home crowd. “It’s more fun and more energetic — and definitely louder. It’s refreshing to feel that little bit of sense of normalcy after the season we had last season — it was so chaotic. It was a great turnout for the homecoming game.”

It was the first of several homecoming games this week for the Summit High School athletic department — boys soccer to follow Tuesday, Sept. 21, girls rugby Wednesday, Sept. 22, and football under the lights Friday night, Sept. 24, versus Middle Park. For the homecoming game, the Tigers student section wore all white shirts for a “whiteout” home-court advantage in the same style as Pennsylvania State University football.

Despite the whiteout and homecoming energy, Eagle Valley (7-3, 3-1 4A Western Slope) jumped out early and defeated Summit in the first set 25-14. The Tigers (0-6, 0-3) then dropped the second set 25-10 and the third and final set 25-9.

Zangari said the Devils took command of the game early with strong defense.

“They kept everything up, and it’s hard to put the ball down, in general, against them,” Zangari said. “It’s a struggle mentally and tough to hit over and over against a team who’s picking up everything you put at them. That was discouraging and got in our heads, and they had a strong service line as well.”

Zangari said Summit’s struggles were teamwide as the Devils with the win continued to chase down 4A Western Slope League leading Palisade (9-2, 5-0). After the game, Zangari said her focus in practice this week will be reintroducing the fun parts of volleyball.

“Let them play, have fun and give them a lot of repetitions,” Zangari said. “I was talking to the previous head coach, Kelly (Schneweis), she was at the game, and just talking to her, it validated what I was thinking: They just need lots of reps because when things get hectic they may not be as confident in themselves and their skills.”

Zangari said, despite Summit’s losses, the team is showcasing a lot of effort in practice and players on the senior-heavy team — nine of 13 girls are seniors — are improving to give the coach more player options.

Summit will next travel to Battle Mountain on Tuesday, Sept. 28, and will not return home to Summit High School until an Oct. 11 home game versus Steamboat Springs. It’s one of just four home games for the Tigers this season. A reorganized schedule of games versus far Western Slope League teams like Palisade and Glenwood Springs has neutral sites because of the uncertainty of being able to drive through Glenwood Canyon.

“My goal is to guide them and continue to guide them to learn how to better not dwell on their mental mistakes,” Zangari said. “That’s really the last piece for them. If we can do that, they can play better as a team as a whole and have more fun.”

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