Sailors volleyball eliminated from district championships |

Sailors volleyball eliminated from district championships

John Vandelinder

Montrose — Steamboat volleyball coach Wendy Hall leaned up against the wall outside of her team's locker room. — Steamboat volleyball coach Wendy Hall leaned up against the wall outside of her team's locker room.

— Steamboat volleyball coach Wendy Hall leaned up against the wall outside of her team’s locker room.

She stood alone, her head in her hands.

Tears trickled down her face as the reality of the day’s events were beginning to set in.

The season is over.

The Sailors were knocked out of the district championships Saturday in Montrose.

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“I’m disappointed,” Hall said. “I feel like we had a good enough team and a good enough season for us to be playing at the next level. It’s very unfortunate.”

Steamboat started the tournament strong, defeating Falcon High School in three straight games, 25-20, 25-18, 25-17.

“We started tight against Falcon,” Hall said, “but we pulled it together. We knew what we needed to do in order for us to advance and the girls played very well. It’s fun when you win.”

The fun didn’t last long.

The Sailors were left out of the postseason, losing to Montrose, 25-9, 25-22, 25-20 and Regis, 25-18, 25-22, 25-18.

“We didn’t come out ready to play Montrose,” Hall said. “The first game was an indication of that. The last two games against them were all about a few points here and a few points there. All you need is a few errors at this level and you lose.”

Steamboat was in quite possibly the toughest district in the state, District 8.

Montrose came in ranked No. 5, Regis No. 6 and Moffat County No. 10.

Palisade and Falcon rounded out the six-team bracket.

“This was by far the toughest district,” Hall said. “As a result, we had a very tough day. Whoever gets out of here will be prepared come regional time.”

Regis and Montrose each play their regular season as part of a 5A schedule. They were placed in District 8, a 4A tournament.

‘They were simply just better than us today,” Hall said. “I am so very proud of my girls; they really came together as a group.”

Last season, the Sailors finished the season with a record below .500.

Steamboat turned it around this year, piling up 15 wins and advancing to the postseason.

For some of the seniors on this team, the end of the season came too fast.

“The realization that it’s all over hits really hard,” senior Natalie Nichols said, eyes red from emotions pouring out for possibly the last time. “We have five seniors that have all played together since seventh grade. We have become like sisters. “

Lizzie Stoll agreed.

“We lost, but it was a very rewarding season for us,” Stoll said. “We started out this year a lot different than we finished. We have all become such good friends that wins and losses won’t tear us apart.”

Among the sorrow and disappointment one would find among the Sailor volleyball players, one happy face stood out.

“I’m excited in the way that we played, today and all season,” senior Lisa Floyd said. “We had an amazing turnaround. This team became really close friends. And hey, we went out with a bang.”

Even Hall found some solace in the season, especially considering the turnaround from last year.

“I really enjoyed being around them this year,” Hall said. “It’s always tough when it comes to an end with five kids you’ve become really, really close with. But I hope we always have that connection. I love it when players come back in the summer and play and come back just to say, ‘hi.’ I love that.”