Delta stumps Sailors at home |

Delta stumps Sailors at home

Delta's Ashton Reese swings for a kill Saturday as her Panthers shocked Steamboat by winning in three sets. The loss doesn't derail the Sailors' hopes of winning the league
Joel Reichenberger

— On the bright side, Saturday may have been the “margin for error,” and after a stunning three-set loss at home against Delta, the Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team is still atop the Western Slope League, still in control of its destiny and still hopeful to earn the right to play at home in the regional round of the playoffs.

That will all be decided in the remaining two weeks and four matches of the regular season, but after Saturday one thing was clear — if the Sailors hope to achieve those goals of winning the league and playing a home postseason tournament, they have no room left for error.

Delta threw all that into disarray with a 25-19, 25-20, 25-23 victory.

“We’re still in control of what we can do,” senior Maddie Labor said. “This, for sure, was a tough one, but we’re still in control of our own destiny.”

The loss bumps Steamboat down into a three-way tie atop the league, knotted at two losses with Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley. That’s guaranteed to get mixed up as they both play each other once, and Steamboat will still hit the road to play each on the road.

Delta, meanwhile, sits one game back with three losses. It’s through with the “toughie” portion of its schedule.

All three two-loss teams can control their own destiny by winning out.

For Steamboat to achieve that, it will need a different brand of volleyball than it showcased Saturday. The squad simply didn’t look like the same team that racked up a 15-2 record and beat Delta on the road in four sets.

“We were chasing them the entire match,” Labor said. “We weren’t taking control. When we played them in Delta, we were excited, we were playing tough and were playing harder than they were. Here, we just got outplayed.”

The Sailors weren’t as much awful — the sets never got out of hand — as different, and a little less than they have been.

There were big hits, but rather than spark sustained rallies, they merely slowed Delta. There were nice blocks but not enough to rattle the Panthers’ big hitters, Emily Baier and Ashton Reese. And, there were a few good defensive saves but not the way there has been.

There wasn’t the artistry and excitement that’s defined this group, with 10 seniors, in recent seasons.

“We saw their hitters, both of them, really light it up, and we failed to slow them down,” coach Wendy Hall said. “We played from behind the entire time, and when you do that, you instill them with a tremendous amount of confidence.

“Normally we get behind and stay patient and find a way to shift the momentum back,” Hall added. “We just couldn’t find that today.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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