Drive helps Steamboat move past Rifle |

Drive helps Steamboat move past Rifle

— Steamboat Springs volleyball coach Wendy Hall said she senses a new drive among her players this week.

She noticed it during Thursday night’s match in Glenwood Springs, when the Sailors nearly upset the Demons who are second in the Western Slope standings with just one loss.

On Saturday, the team’s drive was also easy to see as the Sailors rolled over Rifle in three games, 25-7, 25-17 and 25-15.

“We’ve had a different feeling on the court the past couple of matches — a new drive to work hard,” Hall said after the Sailors’ impressive showing Saturday. “It started in Thursday’s match (against Glenwood). We didn’t win, but I think the girls realized that they really can play with some of the top teams.”

Hall thinks Steam—-boat could have won the back-and-fourth contest with Glenwood by eliminating just a couple of mistakes. Thursday’s contest came down to the fifth and deciding game, which Glenwood won, 15-9.

“We played really well on Thursday,” Steamboat senior Missy Chotvacs said. “We gained some team chemistry and are really confident right now.”

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That confidence showed in Saturday’s match against Rifle, when the Sailors made few mistakes and didn’t need the fifth game to win. After falling behind Rifle 5-0 early on, Steamboat rallied be—-hind the serving of Tara King. Steamboat scored the final 18 points of the game.

More importantly, as the Sailors offense came to life, the Bears started to unravel.

The visiting team struggled to find the same rhythm they had displayed in the opening minutes of the match, and the Sailors seemed to get stronger with every point.

The Sailors took commanding leads in both of the final games, which seemed to fuel the Sailors players who quickly closed the door on any chance for a Rifle comeback.

‘This was a dangerous match for us,” Hall said. “It’s dangerous because it’s the type of match where we might have come out and played sloppy. Then, even if you win, you end up feeling bad about it. The best way to show respect for a team is not to overlook them. We didn’t overlook Rifle today, and I don’t want my players overlooking any team.”

Hall was pleased that Steam–boat players remained focused throughout Saturday’s match against Rifle — a team that has lost 14 straight matches this season and is in last place in the league standings.

Steamboat presented a balanced attack led by sophomore Katie Gary, who had seven kills. Hestia Chase added six, Lisa Floyd had five, and Chotvacs and King finished with four each.

Senior Elizabeth Johnson was 10-for-10 from the service line with four aces. King finished with 20 assists, and Chotvacs added three. Chase was six-for-six in serve receive and had five perfect passes. Floyd went 10-for-10 with four perfect passes.

Steamboat will be hoping to improve on its record during several key matches this week at home.

The Sailors, 7-5 overall and 5-4 in league play, will play a nonleague contest against Middle Park on Thursday. The Sailors will host Palisade in a homecoming match Friday at 5 p.m. and Delta at 1 p.m. Saturday.