Sailors swamp Bulldogs to open volleyball season
Steamboat Springs — With a flurry of hard hits and plenty of big digs, the Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team showed Thursday it’s still at the top of the heap in Northwest Colorado.
The Sailors beat Moffat County to win what was the season opener for both teams in three sets. Steamboat won, 25-16, 25-11, 25-11.
“Overall, I’m really, really happy with what we did,” Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said.
She had reason to be nervous, as the team she sent onto the court had a serious lack of varsity experience. Only one of the six starters saw considerable minutes a year ago, and four of those six saw none at all.
They didn’t necessarily look like savvy veterans from the first point to the last, but they did flash plenty of skill, they did bounce back from several tough Moffat runs and they did come away with a solid win on their home court.
“When you have four kids out there who’ve never played varsity, you don’t know how they’ll react,” Hall said. “You don’t know if they’ll panic or have deer-in-the-headlights syndrome or what.”
Sophomore Anna Allsberry was among those who responded to the challenge. She saw fleeting minutes on varsity last year but was a force Thursday.
She racked up 10 kills, tied with junior Micah Feeley for best on the team.
Este Wilkinson had six, and Sammie Stevenson had three.
Abi Berley tallied 16 assists, while Wyleigh Myers helped lead the team in a strong night from the serving line. She connected on 10 of 10 attempts. Allsberry had four aces.
“Monday, it was shaky, shaky, shaky, playing six on six. Tuesday was a little better, and yesterday, I started to feel pretty good,” Hall said. “Today, they played better than I’d seen them play yet, so that was really nice to see.”
Those aces and kills helped stop Moffat County’s attempts to rally and hang in the match.
The Bulldogs did have its moments and challenged Steamboat, especially early. The first set tied at 14 before a Moffat error and an Allsberry ace gave the Sailors a boost.
The Bulldogs never threatened in the second, and Steamboat ran out to a 17-4 lead. They did play better early in the third, however, before yet another Steamboat surge built a big margin and put the set, and the night, away.
“We had some really tough rallies, and when the momentum would stay up, we were able to hang in there,” said Moffat coach Erin Knez, who stepped in as head coach this season after two years as an assistant. “The hard part tonight was when we’d get a couple mistakes under our belt, and then we’d start doubting ourselves. We’d play reserved. Then, we’d get a couple points and get our momentum back, and that’s when we’d play aggressive.”
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With abnormally low snow levels, most of the snow skiers and snowboarders will encounter Saturday during Steamboat Resort’s Opening Day will be manufactured.