Hayden, Soroco volleyball teams to square off | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden, Soroco volleyball teams to square off

2 teams will advance from district volleyball tournament

Hayden senior Morgan Bell passes the ball during the opening round of the district tournament Tuesday night at home against the Vail Mountain School. The team hopes to continue its winning ways when the Tigers travel to Rangely to continue the district tournament.
John F. Russell

If you go

What: Soroco and Hayden high school volleyball teams at district tournament

When: 9 a.m. Saturday into the afternoon

Where: Rangely

— The message from the Class 2A high school volleyball teams staked out on opposite ends of the county is the same.

Hayden and Soroco, headed Saturday to play in the district volleyball tournament in Rangely, see an opening — a chance to advance to the regional tournament.

“It should really be some good volleyball,” Hayden coach Greg Johnson said. “The girls are excited. We really have a chance to advance.”

“We will have to play our best,” Soroco coach Kim Reeves said. “We have to make sure we’re on our A game to be able to get through it all.”

The tournament will be round-robin style, with two of the four teams advancing to regionals. Rangely, the top seed, went undefeated through the conference season, meaning barring a string of major upsets, Soroco, the second seed, Hayden, the third, and Paonia, will be battling it out for the second spot.

If Hayden or Soroco are to advance, the first match of the day may go a long way toward deciding who gets that chance.

The Tigers and Rams will face off at 9 a.m. Saturday. The schools split their matchups this season, each earning a win on the others’ home court. Now, they’ll battle again with a chance at the regional tournament on the line.

“It is definitely an intense way to start the tournament,” Reeves said.

Her Rams got the last laugh against the Tigers, breaking a long string of futility against Hayden with a 3-1 victory last weekend.

That evened the season series after Hayden handled Soroco in three games earlier in the month.

“We need to match their intensity. Last time they came out and played the hardest of any team we’ve seen this year,” Johnson said about battling the Rams. “It’s good to play Soroco first, for both teams. At that point, we’ll find out where we stand and what we need to get done for the rest of the day.

“If you can win that first one, you have a great chance of moving on.”

Reeves said Soroco, which beat West Grand in five games Tuesday to advance to Saturday’s action, has been working on tidying up errors.

Tuesday’s win was Soroco’s first in the postseason since Reeves took over as coach five years ago. Her team would like to capitalize on that.

“We’ve been trying to make the girls a little more crisp and to work on the mental toughness that comes along with all this,” she said. “We’ve done a lot of drills for eliminating errors. We really can’t have those.”

Johnson, meanwhile, said he’s been trying to hammer consistency into his team.

The Tigers have fallen just short of advancing from districts for two consecutive years, and they’re eager to take that next step.

“We have to play every single point well or else we’re going to lose,” Johnson said. “We feel like we’re a pretty good team, and when we bring a consistent effort every single play, things won’t go against us.

“Rangely’s pretty good, but there won’t be a dominate second team there. It’s open for someone, so why not us?”

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253 or e-mail jreichenberger@steamboatpilot.com

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