Goals, title grow closer for SSHS volleyball team
Steamboat Springs — The matches only get bigger from here.
That’s the message Steamboat Springs High School girls volleyball coach Wendy Hall broadcast to her team Saturday after it won the only small match it may have had remaining.
The Sailors went on the road to blast Rifle in three sets, 25-13, 25-12, 25-11.
After a somewhat rocky start to the first set, Steamboat cruised to a comfortable win. Jenna Miller led the team with 14 kills, despite being subbed out often in the third set.
Now, Steamboat returns home for a match Tuesday against a gritty Summit team, then travels again Thursday to close out the regular season at Battle Mountain.
Steamboat beat both teams in its first go-around through the league. If it can do so again — and that’s anything but guaranteed — it will win the Western Slope League championship and almost guarantee a home date for the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
“We took care of business this week,” Hall said. “Now, they just keep getting bigger. We’re in a position to control our own destiny as far as the league goes, and it’s a great place to be.”
Summit played Steamboat tight when they matched up earlier this season, forcing four sets. It’s done the same with most of the other top teams in the league, pushing them hard before losing.
Hall said the team’s 7-10 record doesn’t do it justice.
“They’re playing everyone tight, and they have two 6-foot, 1-inch girls in the front line,” she said. “They have size and talent, so that can be really tough to beat.”
An added complication for the Sailors: Tuesday will be senior night, the final (official) farewell to a class of 10 seniors that’s had a huge hand in the program’s strong run in recent seasons.
“It will be an emotional night,” Hall said.
After that comes another serious obstacle: Battle Mountain, long a thorn in Steamboat’s side. The Sailors, 16-3 and 9-2, beat the Huskies in three sets at home earlier this month, but don’t expect anything so “easy” — a generous word for three tight sets — as they travel for the match.
A Steamboat slip-up would likely leave the league in a four-way tie at the top. Hall has no interest in sorting out just where her team would fit in that mess.
“The girls know how important everything is right now,” Hall said. “Every single match is important.”
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When the Routt County Conservation District, with organizational roots that extend to 1942, reconstituted in spring 2019, the top priority was soil health.