Ready to put the spike down

Christine Metz

— The Sailors girls volleyball team is looking to keep a two-year winning streak alive when it enters this weekend’s tournament in Glenwood Springs.

For two years, Steamboat has won the season-opening tournament that features some of the strongest teams along the Western Slope.

“If we don’t beat ourselves,” coach Wendy Hall said, “we should be able to compete with anybody.”

Although Hall is not worried about the pool play, she does admit the competition is high with traditional volleyball powerhouses like the 3A Lutheran and Denver Christian high schools.

The tournament also boasts 5A schools like the Jefferson, Fruita Monument and Grand Junction high schools.

Steamboat will start off its competition with a match against Roaring Fork at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

On Saturday, Steamboat continues play with a 10 a.m. match against Vail Christian and a noon match with Kennedy High School.

The championship is scheduled for 4:30 p.m Saturday.

Throughout the tournament, Steamboat will be keeping an eye on league foe Glenwood Springs.

“With a new coach and good kids coming back, they are going to be tough,” Hall said.

After last weekend’s scrimmage against Craig and Meeker, Steamboat has been focusing on reducing its hitting errors.

Junior Sailor Abby Fritz said the team’s hitting in the scrimmage was inconsistent.

“We’re so powerful and really strong that right now it’s hard for us to keep the ball in court,” said Fritz, an outside hitter.

Hall said her players need to find the fine line between knowing when to hammer the ball over the net and keeping it in play, which can often be a split-second decision.

Through this week’s practice, Hall has been setting up hitting drills but says one of the reasons for the team’s inconsistency could be the young players’ new role as team leaders.

Opposite hitter Bayli Stillwell, who is one of three returning starters, definitely feels the pressure to repeat last year’s state semifinal finish.

“I’m nervous,” Stillwell said. “It’s a pretty brand new team. We have a lot to live up to.”

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