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Colorado’s best hit sand for tourney

Melinda Mawdsley

Katie Carter and Lara Bossow are eating sand now, but they certainly expect to reap the rewards this fall.

The pair of teenagers recently completed their first year of college at UCLA and the University of Colorado, respectively. To continue training, the friends and former club teammates decided to pair up to play doubles sand tournaments throughout the state this summer.

They are learning that playing in sand with one other person is nothing like playing with five others on a gymnasium floor.

“You can’t jump,” said Carter, a 2003 Steamboat Springs High School graduate. “You have to change your timing, your footwork,” added Bossow, a 2003 graduate of Vail Mountain.

“Everything you learned goes down the (toilet),” Carter said.

Carter and Bossow were two of the most heralded volleyball players in the state from the 2003 class. Carter, the 4A Player of the Year, headed to Los Angeles. Bossow, the Class 1A Player of the Year, moved to Boulder. Both had successful first seasons on their respective college teams.

This summer, the heralded have been humbled more than anything else, but they are not playing to necessarily win tournaments. They couldn’t accept the prize money anyhow.

“We’re learning how to read defenses,” Bossow said.

“We’ll go back and be a lot quicker and be able to jump higher,” Carter added.

Both players said they were encouraged by their coaches to play sand volleyball. Bossow is one of the few CU athletes spending the summer playing doubles. Carter, on the other hand, is probably the only Bruin not training on beaches.

Saturday, the team of Gina Engbarth and Ruby Lucero proved just how different doubles is from collegiate volleyball.

The pair from Denver wasn’t as tall or as strong as Carter and Bossow but was more consistent on defense and better at placing their spikes. Engbarth and Lucero defeated Carter and Bossow, 21-18, 22-23, 15-9, at the sand courts at Howelsen Hill.

For good measure, Carter and Bossow did get in the occasional swing that left a deep impression in the sand, but Bossow admitted she and Carter are quickly learning that power isn’t going to get them wins while playing doubles.

“We played 20 times better (Saturday) than we did in Vail, so that’s good,” Carter said.

College has treated both players well. Those who remember Carter while she was playing in Steamboat likely remember a towering presence with a powerful swing and smile. She still has all that — plus another inch, added strength and the maturity that comes from leaving home.

“My first year was great,” Carter said. “It was everything I expected and more.”

The Steamboat Doubles tournament continues today at Howelsen Hill. The open division, of which Carter and Bossow are registered, is on sand. The other divisions are on grass.

If Saturday’s matches were any indication, spectators can expect a high level of volleyball today, as the open divisions continue and the coed division begins. Spectators are welcome.

— To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com


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