Sailors harbor big volleyball plans |

Sailors harbor big volleyball plans

Steamboat eyeing league title despite season opening loss

Steamboat senior Callie Heil swats the ball toward her teammates last week during a drill. The Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team returns much of the firepower that led to success a year ago and has high hopes for the recently started season.
Joel Reichenberger

2015 Steamboat volleyball schedule

Aug. 28 at Montrose, L 3-0

Friday at Glenwood Springs tournament

Saturday at Glenwood Springs tournament

Sept. 10 at Moffat County, 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 11 at Grand Junction Central, 5:30 p.m.

Sept. 18 at Palisade, 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 19 at Delta, 1 p.m.

Sept. 22 vs. Moffat County, 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 24 vs. Eagle Valley, 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 26 vs. Glenwood Springs, 1 p.m.

Oct. 1 at Summit, 6:30 p.m.

Oct. 3 vs. Rifle, 1 p.m.

Oct. 8 vs. Battle Mountain, 6:30 p.m.

Oct. 10 at Glenwood Springs, 1 p.m.

Oct. 16 vs. Palisade, 6:30 p.m.

Oct. 17 vs. Delta, 1 p.m.

Oct. 22 at Eagle Valley, 6:30 p.m.

Oct. 24 at Rifle, 1 p.m.

Oct. 27 vs. Summit, 6:30 p.m.

Oct. 29 at Battle Mountain, 6:30 p.m.

— The Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team started its season Saturday with a three-set loss at Montrose, but the Sailors are still optimistic a successful campaign a year ago can translate to plenty of exciting matches this fall.

Last year, the team was in contention to win the Western Slope League until the final days of the regular season, and this year’s team returns many of the girls who helped make that run possible. There are an astonishing nine seniors, and they’re intent on doing in 2015 what they couldn’t quite accomplish in 2014.

“We have high expectations,” senior Annie Osbourn said. “We’ve been together forever, and we want to go to state.”

The team brings back oodles of experience all around the court. There are big hitters on the outside, like Osbourn, Jenna Miller and Hayley Johnson. There’s the twin sister setters, Maritza Wiedel and Abigail Wiedel, and there’s defensive stalwart Maddie Labor helping hold it all together at libero.

The team does have holes to fill, of course, none more noticeable than in the middle. A few underclassmen and a few new seniors will help fill open spots on the varsity roster and compensate for what issues do exist.

Seniors Maddie Clock, junior varsity a year ago, and Callie Heil, who played as a freshman and a sophomore, will get time in that position, as will sophomore Micah Feeley.

Generally speaking, though, coach Wendy Hall and her team are convinced they’re poised to be better than they were a year ago.

“We have enough seasoned players on the floor that the kids who haven’t played as much varsity can catch on quick,” Hall said. “Our ball control can be better this year. All the girls who were in the starting rotation last year are playing better. They’re stronger and have more confidence. The success last year will really carry over.”

Steamboat opened its season Saturday with one of its biggest challenges of the regular season — a trip to Montrose.

The Indians, state semifinalists last year, showed that the Sailors have work to do if they’re to realize their lofty goals. Montrose won in three sets, 25-11, 25-18, 25-20.

Plenty more challenges await this season in what’s expected to be a wildly competitive Western Slope League.

A year ago Steamboat finished third in the league, behind Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley. Both teams should be tough again this year. 
Steamboat’s regular season ends with a trip to play at Battle Mountain. If things go as Steamboat hopes, that trip could help decide the league champion.

The team will try to get its first win of the season (and then some) Friday and Saturday when it travels to Glenwood Springs to play in a tournament.

“We can do that stuff,” Osbourn said, thinking about that league championship and more.

“We are a good team,” she said. “We can do those types of things.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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