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Sailors find cure for ailments

Scott Stanford

— Steamboat Springs volleyball coach Wendy Hall was a little anxious heading into Saturday’s match against Rifle.

It had been more than a week since the Sailors had played well, Hall said. The team lost its first match of the season to sixth-ranked Middle Park Tuesday and followed up with a lackluster win over Battle Mountain Thursday.

But if something was ailing the Sailors, they found the cure Saturday. Steamboat played almost flawlessly, dispatching winless Rifle 15-0, 15-5 in a match that was over in less than 30 minutes.

“We needed a match to get back on track and we got it today,” Hall said. “We were really in sync. We had a couple of hitting errors toward the end, but our passing and serving was awesome.”

The win moved the Sailors, ranked third in the state in Class 4A, to 8-1 overall and 3-0 in the Western Slope League. Rifle dropped to 0-6 and 0-2.

The contest was never really in doubt. The Sailors dominated the first game behind strong serving from Valerie Finch and Allison Griffing and three kills each by Katie Carter and Bayli Stillwell.

Finch took over serve with the Sailors leading 1-0. Two aces and five Rifle errors later, the Sailors were up 8-0. Then Griffing took over with the Sailors up 10-0 and served out the game. She had two aces among the final five points.

The Sailors raced to an 8-1 lead in game two, with five of those points coming off the serve of Carter. Griffing had two kills during the run.

After the Sailors gave up a point to Rifle on one of their few errors of the afternoon, the Sailors reeled off six straight points with Griffing serving to grab a 14-2 lead.

Only then did the Sailors appear the least bit vulnerable, allowing the Bears to score three straight points. But a kill by Becca Gray returned serve to the Sailors, who ended the match on a kill by Abby Fritz.

Three Sailors had five kills each Carter, Fritz and Stillwell. Griffing added two kills. Gray had 15 assists.

The Sailors were a perfect 38-for-38 serving. Griffing and Finch were each 12-for-12 serving. Griffing had five aces and Finch had two.

Fritz was 5-of-6 passing off of Rifle serves and Griffing was four of four.

“We all had some anxiety coming into today’s match,” Hall said. “Our confidence level was shaken a little bit. But I’m really happy. We needed to come out and play well, especially in front of the home crowd. And that’s exactly what we did.”

The Sailors’ home stand continues this week with matches against Delta Friday and Palisade Saturday. The Delta match is at 7 p.m., while the Palisade match is at 1:30 p.m.


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