‘Soak up every second of it,’ Steamboat senior caps four-year career at regionals
PARKER — Steamboat Springs High School senior Anna Allsberry sat in the stands with her feet propped up on the seat below her, a tan blanket draped over her legs.
There was probably no one else in the Steamboat Springs crowd watching the game below more intently. No. 14 Weld Central — a team the Sailors just defeated in four sets 25-16, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23 — was playing No. 11 Ponderosa, who defeated the Sailors in three sets Saturday morning 25-14, 25-19, 25-12.
It’s unfortunate to have your fate in another team’s hands, especially one you beat, but if there was some slim chance the Rebels could pull it together, Allsberry and the Sailors would potentially play one more set together in a three-way tiebreak.
Ponderosa was up 7-1 in the second set after winning the first, 25-20. Allsberry knew where this was going, but she hung on to some hope.
“Soak up every second of it. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have,” Allsberry said. “Maddie (Heydon) and I were saying on the very last point that, ‘OK this point, all in, we’re going to do everything we can to win this point.’”
But, the match against Weld Central had an abrupt, victorious ending for the Sailors. It wasn’t a lengthy rally, one that sent players scrambling across the floor to pick up tips or running towards the stands to grab a long ball. There was no final kill or block, either.
“Then Abi had that ace,” Allsberry said. “But it definitely was a memorable thing.”
Allsberry admits her competitive nature can be intense. Her teammates know that, which is why they keep her in check.
“I put off an image of being upset,” Allsberry said. “The rest of my team is verbally enthusiastic, so it’s nice to have them to pick me up. I think Katelyn and I bring the more intense, competitive side of it.”
Allsberry missed a diving pass in the first match against Ponderosa, but then she got up and simulated how it should’ve gone. She drops down in a defensive squat, shoulders facing forward, then hinges her left knee to direct her body to the left one, two, three times. She’s careful to look at how straight her arms are as she reaches to the side, angling them to receive the invisible replay ball correctly.
When she misses a hit, she’ll throw her arm up and snap her wrist a few times before gearing up for the next point.
“I’m definitely a visual person, so I know what I did wrong when I make a mistake,” Allsberry said. “So, I always have to try to correct it by showing myself where I messed up.”
Allsberry finished the regular season with the second-most kills in the Class 4A Western Slope League with 345 on a 26.2 percent efficiency. She also averaged the second-most kills per set with 4.7. Allsberry’s volleyball career isn’t over yet, either. She’s verbally committed to play at Regis University next year.
Allsberry has been on the varsity team since her freshman year, establishing herself as one of the pillars of the program for four seasons, but she wants her teammates to get the credit they deserve, which is why her story comes at the end of the season.
Weld Central dropped its last set to Ponderosa, nailing the coffin of the Sailors’ season. For three sets, the Sailors sat with a slight sense of hope in the stands, smiling and talking about their win. But, the walk to the cafeteria, where the girls left their bags, was a somber one.
Head coach Wendy Hall gathered her team to say some final words, rounding them in a huddle for one last time, then cried as she embraced each one of them.
Asked what it’s like to lose someone like Allsberry, Hall chokes up, unsure if she can form what it means into words.
“Her and I are connected and always will be. She’ll always be in my life and I’ll always be in hers,” Hall said.
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