High school sports weekend preview for Oct. 15 to Oct. 17 | SteamboatToday.com

High school sports weekend preview for Oct. 15 to Oct. 17

Steamboat volleyball

6:30 p.m. Friday: Steamboat (14-2) vs. Palisade (7-9)

1 p.m. Saturday: Steamboat vs. Delta (16-2)

When the Sailors hit the road to play Delta — and won, 3-1 — last month, they did so with an attitude of “don’t let one slip away on the road.” As it turns out, that road trip, which also featured a five-set win against Palisade, has proven pretty important and now is the difference between the Sailors (7-1) and the Panthers (7-2) at the top of the league standings.

With wins against other presumed league leaders Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley, Delta has proven it’s far more than a potential stumbling block, and it comes to Steamboat having won four consecutive matches.

Steamboat’s also excelled recently, winning 15 of its last 16 sets, but this weekend — Friday against Palisade and Saturday against Delta — is far more important than a “take one match at a time” refrain. These are big, and if Steamboat’s going to win the league, this weekend could be a big reason why.

Steamboat soccer

6 p.m. Thursday: Steamboat (10-2) vs. Delta (3-9)

6 p.m. Saturday: Steamboat vs. Centaurus (5-6) at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City

It’s a bummer for the Sailors that they lost Tuesday on the road at Eagle Valley, but the real letdown would come in a lackluster performance against the Delta Panthers. With only three wins, the Panthers haven’t been good this season, but they haven’t been as bad as that record would indicate, either. Steamboat won at Delta last month, 1-0, and in its last four games, the team has won two and lost one to a solid Glenwood Springs squad in double overtime. The fourth game was a blowout loss to Eagle Valley, but Steamboat today is as equipped as any team to cite the Devils’ pitch prowess.

Saturday’s trip to the Front Range to play Centaurus offers the team a cool opportunity to play on the home field of Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids. It also offers Steamboat the chance to pick up a nice non-league win late in the season.

Steamboat football

7 p.m. Friday: Steamboat (2-4) at Eagle Valley (5-1)

As rough as Steamboat’s schedule has been, with consecutive match ups (and lopsided losses) against what could be three of the league’s four best teams, Eagle Valley’s schedule has equally smooth, facing only one of the top four squads. The Devils lost that game, too, falling 26-0 to Rifle.

Still, Eagle Valley will be looking to cruise against the Sailors, as it did in a 25-3 win against Steamboat a year ago. To wreck those plans, the Sailors will need to find some offense. They haven’t scored a touchdown in nearly a month. Steamboat’s won twice this season in grinding, gritty style, and if it’s going to take down a high-flying squad like Eagle Valley, that would be the formula. No matter how ugly the game gets, however, the Sailors will need some touchdowns.

Steamboat cross country

4 p.m. Thursday: at Rifle

The build up is almost over for the Sailors, who will compete Thursday in their final regular season meet of the season, heading to Rifle, where they’ll see plenty of opponents from the region. It’s one last chance to cut times before the big state-deciding meet and one last chance for each runner to see where he or she stacks up against opponents from the area.

Especially on the girls side, that will be important, as the team will be jockeying for a high finish at state.

Hayden football

7 p.m. Friday: Hayden (1-4) vs. Plateau Valley (3-3)

The Tigers have a big test Friday night against a Plateau Valley team that’s played plenty of solid football this season. The Cowboys are coming off a 46-0 loss to Norwood, but the week before that, they bested West Grand, 25-14, and also have wins this season against Rangely and Soroco. That’s more wins than the team has had in the past four years combined.

They’ve done it with a strong rushing attack fueled by Joseph Heaton and Chris Miller, who have combined for nearly 900 yards and nine touchdowns. That’s a challenge for the Tigers, who allowed 8.4 yards per carry and six rushing touchdowns against West Grand last week. Stiffening that rushing defense will be the top priority for Hayden if it hopes to get the win.

Hayden volleyball

1 p.m. Saturday: Hayden (1-13) at North Park (7-7)

In a season like the Tigers are going through, it’s all about making progress. Now, the squad has back-to-back matches against North Park, and that should offer a great opportunity to show some of that progress.

Saturday’s game represents senior night for Hayden and for four Tigers who’ve seen plenty of losses and several big wins in their time. This weekend may offer the perfect chance to chalk up one more big win.

Soroco volleyball

6:30 p.m. Thursday: Soroco (8-5) at Vail Christian (14-2)

1 p.m. Saturday: Soroco vs. West Grand (12-2)

The Rams have fared well against middle- and lower-tier opponents this season but haven’t been able to put much of a dent into any elite opponents. They’ll get two big chances this weekend — Thursday with a trip to Vail Christian and Saturday at home against West Grand.

Both teams took out Soroco in fairly lopsided straight sets earlier this season, and now, both reign at the top of the league. If the Rams are to compete and win either match, something’s going to have to be different. At times this season, the team has shown it can piece together strong enough volleyball to swing with elite teams. To do that this weekend, it will need to be competent on defense and excellent moving the ball to strong hitters on offense.

Soroco cross country

9 a.m. Friday: at Grand Junction

The Rams will get one last chance to sharpen their claws — or their hooves, as the case may be — with a trip to Grand Junction. For the team’s top two runners, Ben Kelley on the boys side and Chloe Veilleux on the girls side, the last pre-regionals workout will be both interesting and essential. It doesn’t count the way the regional meet does, but it’s always good to put up one, final, strong dress rehearsal showing before the spotlight comes on.

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