Outside hitters shine in Steamboat volleyball season opener
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When in doubt, feed the outside hitter.
Most teams have one who stands above the rest, others may have two, but good teams have them in all rotations.
That’s what the Steamboat Springs High School Sailors proved at home in their season opener against Moffat County High School, grabbing a dominate win 25-11, 25-10 and 25-16.
Seniors Anna Allsberry and Maddie Heydon flank the net, each standing at 6 feet tall. It’s a threatening way to start a game when the two tallest seem to fire at both angles.
Allsberry must’ve been caught up in the season opener excitement, forgetting that she was still wearing her necklace, which would glimmer enough after her first kill to grab the official’s attention.
Aug. 23: vs. Moffat County, W 25-11, 25-10, 25-16
Aug. 31 at Alamosa, L 21-25, 25-21, 15-17.
Aug. 31 at Peak to Peak, W 25-15, 25-8
Sept. 1 at Coal Ridge, L 25-18, 18-25, 11-15
Sept. 1 at Littleton, W 25-16, 25-20
Sept. 8: at Classical Academy, L 25-19, 18-25, 12-15
Sept. 8: Coronado, L 27-29, 22-25
Sept. 8: Mullen High School, L 22-25, 20-25
Sept. 8: Mountain View, W 20-25, 25-15, 25-12
Sept. 13: vs. Eagle Valley, L 18-25, 27-25, 25-14, 20-25, 13-15
Sept. 15: vs. Glenwood Springs, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 21: at Palisade, W 19-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-8
Sept. 22: at Rifle, W 25-13, 25-12, 25-20
Sept. 25: vs. Battle Mountain, W 25-16, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23.
Sept. 27: at Summit W 27-29, 25-13, 22-25, 25-21, 15-13
Oct. 4: at Eagle Valley L 18-25, 25-18, 12-25, 24-26
Oct. 6: at Glenwood Springs W 25-23, 25-22, 25-22
Oct. 12: vs. Palisade L 21-25, 27-29, 25-20, 25-23, 14-16
Oct. 13: vs. Rifle, W 25-17, 25-20, 25-8
Oct. 16: at Battle Mountain, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 18: vs. Summit, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 20: vs. Grand Junction, 6:30 p.m.
But then she’d keep firing, using her vertical as an advantage on those high-outside sets.
When the passes aren’t perfect, the sets may not be either, but Allsberry would make something of everything she got, even on the back row. That’s part of shaking the rust off in a new season.
“The pin hitters had a really good night. Unfortunately, I think we need to fine-tune our passes a little bit to feed our middles a little more,” head coach Wendy Hall said. “I think (Anna) is out there calling for the ball, she’s in the setter’s ear and she wants it. They have a lot of trust in her.”
Heydon’s game strengthened as time wore on. Back sets are the most difficult for a setter, but Heydon found her sharp angles, which fell to the floor before the Bulldogs could even blink. She’d click with both senior setters Kari Saunders and Soria Rabanal at the net, but Rabanal would feed her the final two kills in the third set.
“The strength in her hitting has come a long ways, she would hit hard now and again last year, but not near as consistent,” Hall said. “I feel like she has a new mentality this year and a whole new level of confidence for sure.”
Senior Sophie Walentiny was the third option, rotating in when Allsberry moved to the back row. Walentiny was picky with her sets, slamming the ones she knew she could. It was the type of hit you could hear above a gym full of high schoolers shouting fun, tantalizing remarks at the other team.
“She’s a smart hitter; she doesn’t go for too much when she’s not in rhythm,” Hall said. “She keeps a lot of balls in play, which I think is a really good quality in an outside hitter because not everything is going to be perfect. She doesn’t make many hitting errors.”
The Sailors are on the road for the Glenwood Springs volleyball tournament Aug. 31 to Sept. 1 and a game at Silver Creek on Sept. 8. They will return home Sept. 13 against Eagle Valley.