Ripe rivalry |

Ripe rivalry

Hayden, Soroco volleyball prepare for Friday meeting

— Playing in weekend preseason tournaments gave Hayden’s and Soroco’s volleyball teams crucial experience. Now, the two county rivals will face each another in Friday’s season opener in Hayden.

For the Tigers, coach Stephanie Davis was pleased to see her team embrace what she described as a “total offensive and defensive system change” during its tournament appearance in Aspen.

After losing their first match to Roaring Fork, the Tigers went on to beat Fountain Valley School and Vail Mountain School.

“I was most excited with our ability to execute the new system,” Davis said of her team’s first on-court game experience together. “We passed well, served well and played well as a team. Our weakness is that we need to work on our D.”

Although Davis said she won’t have a definite starting varsity lineup until the district tournament, she said she had an idea of how her eight seniors will fit their roles and mentioned how the team will incorporate junior Jacquelyn Denker at a libero position.

While the Tigers were busy learning their new system, Betsy Photos’ Soroco Rams were learning new positions during a tournament at Grand Valley High School.

“We’ve got four of our six starters playing different positions,” Photos said, pointing to junior Amanda Wilson switching from middle to outside hitter, junior Glenda Long switching to setter, and sophomore Sarajane Rossi at outside hitter.

In the tournament’s round-robin pool play, Soroco beat Telluride and Grand Valley to advance to the championship bracket. Despite losing to Rangely and North Park, Photos said she was proud of how her teamed improved throughout the day, coming together to play up to the level of better opponents.

“We’re still working on our best combinations and finding the right chemistry with players still competing for positions,” Photos said. “The importance of the tournament is playing time. We started rusty and came together more and more. I’m excited to start the season next week.”

Having worked out the kinks at their separate tournaments, both coaches were excited for their teams to open up the season against a cross-county league contender.

“It will be a good test : plus, it’s a rivalry,” Davis said.

– To reach Dave Shively, call 871-4253 or e-mail

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