Sailors get fired up for Saturday’s district volleyball tournament |

Sailors get fired up for Saturday’s district volleyball tournament

Luke Graham

The Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team is preparing for the district tournament Saturday at Eagle Valley. The top two teams will advance to the regional tournament.

— Steamboat Springs High School volleyball coach Wendy Hall knows her team has the talent and the right situation to advance through the district tournament Saturday at Eagle Valley.

But it’s the third variable that makes Hall excited about Saturday’s task. Steamboat plays Mullen and Montezuma-Cortez in pool play. The pools then are crossed with the top team from one pool playing the second-place team from the other pool, and vice versa. The two teams that advance to the district championship will move on to the regional tournament. The other pool consists of Eagle Valley, Delta and Glenwood Springs – all teams from the Western Slope League.

Steamboat opens play at 9:30 and 11 a.m. Saturday at the Eagle Valley Middle School in Eagle. Cross-pool play is at Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum.

“I really, truly, in my heart believe this year that these girls are all in it to win it, so to speak,” Hall said. “They do want the postseason play beyond the district tournament. They’ve had their hearts and dreams set on that since Day 1 this year. : That gives you the extra edge you have to have. The teams that have that have the tendency to keep going on.”

Steamboat certainly is in an interesting position. In Montezuma-Cortez and Mullen, the Sailors find two teams they know very little about. Both schools play Class 5A regular season schedules before dropping down to Class 4A for postseason play. Montezuma-Cortez comes in with a 12-5 record. Mullen finished 12-7 playing in one of the toughest leagues in the state.

“My expectations are to definitely make it to regionals,” Steamboat senior Kacey Bull said. “We ended up playing a couple of the top teams. It’s a hard pool that we’re in. If we play to our potential, we can definitely do well.”

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To play to their potential, Hall said the Sailors will have to do what they’ve done in most of their wins this year. Efficiency will be at a premium, Hall said, as Steamboat has to control the ball and pass well.

Still, it will be a confident Steamboat team coming to the district tournament. On Saturday, Steamboat had one of its best wins of the year, a five-game thriller against Palisade.

In that match, the Sailors fell behind, 2-0, before battling back and winning three straight.

“I would definitely say that this has probably been the mentally strongest team that we’ve had,” Sailors senior Sara Williams said. “I also think it has a huge part with how we’re doing. Your strength and ability are one thing, but your mental game is a new aspect and a whole thing to have.”

Steamboat will need to be mentally prepared come Saturday. There is the potential that to advance to the regional tournament, Steamboat will have to play four games in one day. Hall, however, is confident this group has the mental strength to play particularly well all day.

“I just feel so fortunate to work with such terrific kids,” Hall said. “I’ve been in this long enough to not take that for granted.”

District 7 pools

Games are played at Eagle Valley High School and Eagle Valley Middle School

– Pool 1

Eagle Valley, Delta and Glenwood Springs

– Pool 2

Mullen, Steamboat Springs and Montezuma-Cortez

– Semifinal 1

Pool 1 winner vs. Pool 2 second place

– Semifinal 2

Pool 2 winner vs. Pool 1 second place