Steamboat volleyball preps for 3 home games |

Steamboat volleyball preps for 3 home games

Luke Graham

Setter Colleen King pounds the ball over the net during Wednesday's Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team practice. King and her teammates were preparing for tonight's game against Moffat County.

— The Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team has an opportunity this week to take control of its own destiny as the season winds down.

But the team will undertake those efforts in some not-so-easy circumstances.

Steamboat plays at 6:30 p.m. today at home against chief rival Moffat County. The team then welcomes known nemesis Battle Mountain for an 11 a.m. showdown Saturday, before Western Slope League-leading Eagle Valley comes in at 4 p.m. that day.

All games will be played at Steamboat Springs High School.

The three games are vital for Steamboat (12-2 overall, 8-1 in the Western Slope League) as the season winds down.

“You can’t look past anybody,” coach Wendy Hall said. “I’m sure everybody feels that way right now. It’s a great league. It’s tight. I’m hoping that gives us good preparation going into the district tournament.”

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With five league games ahead and Steamboat in second place, the Sailors still have the opportunity to win a league title.

It starts with a pesky Moffat County team tonight.

The Bulldogs haven’t had the season they wanted, but when it comes to the U.S. Highway 40 rivalry, records rarely matter.

Steamboat picked up a 3-1 win earlier in the season at Moffat County.

“Playing them is definitely in our minds,” Steamboat senior Jayde Mattox said. “We’re trying to take it one game at a time. We’re focused on (today), and then we’ll take Saturday as it comes.”

If Steamboat gets through today with a win, it sets up a monumental showdown on Saturday. Steamboat beat Battle Mountain in three games earlier this year, before suffering its lone league loss of the year against Eagle Valley.

In the Eagle Valley game, the Devils used three blockers to control reigning league player of the year Colleen King.

Hall said Steamboat would make adjustments as the Sailors play everybody in the league again.

“We’re trying to work on some specifics,” she said.

“Especially with Eagle Valley. They have big hitters we struggled to slow down. We know what’s coming. We also saw them triple block an outside hitter, which I’ve never seen in high school.”

That plan may be to get Mattox and fellow outside hitter Kelsey Butler more involved in the offense.

Steamboat’s proven it’s strong with King and middle hitters Devin Wilkinson and Maggie Stanford. But getting an outside game going should help the Sailors become more versatile.

“I think we understand what the teams are like,” Mattox said. “We know more about the teams and are more confident in how we play. Going through a second time has made us more confident.”

Although the busy schedule isn’t ideal, Hall said a silver lining is that it will prepare the Sailors for the district tournament, a one-day, multiple-game event.

She said having to refocus so quickly helps prepare Steamboat’s team for postseason play.

But before the Sailors can talk postseason, they must get through the Bulldogs today.

“We just can’t look ahead,” Hall said. “That’s when you get into trouble. Especially against Moffat, who always shows up and battles against us. We definitely need to be ready and focused.”

If you go

What: Steamboat volleyball vs. Moffat County

When: 6:30 p.m. today

Where: Steamboat SpringsHigh School

What: Steamboat volleyball hosts quad meet

When: 11 a.m. Saturday vs. Battle Mountain and 4 p.m. Saturday vs. Eagle Valley

Where: Steamboat Springs High School