Steamboat volleyball falls short of Eagle Valley in 5-set heartbreak
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It was a match too close for comfort, which almost only counts in horseshoes.
Eagle Valley defeated Steamboat Springs High School in five sets 25-18, 25-27, 14-25, 25-20, 15-13.
“The difference between this team’s chemistry, enthusiasm, passion, focus tonight and what I’ve seen every match until now is night and day,” Steamboat Springs head coach Wendy Hall said. “I am absolutely thrilled and I know they have this potential. Everybody shines when the team is put first.”
The Sailors were ahead early in the first set, then found themselves in a 20-12 deficit. Despite climbing back, they fell to defensive errors 25-18.
But, the second set saw a different team. The Sailors climbed to a 14-7 lead behind junior Lauren Ehlrich’s float-serve, which threw the Devils off enough for one ace. But the Devils evened the score 14-14. Steamboat Springs managed to extend a lead 20-17 before falling behind 23-24.
The Devils missed two serves to keep the Sailors in contention. Senior Sarah Heckel delivered a solo block out of middle and Anna Allsberry complemented with a kill to take the set 27-25.
Steamboat continued to carry its momentum into the third set, forcing errors on Eagle Valley. After a string of kills by Devils junior Shelbi Lubbers, Eagle Valley committed four hitting errors. They won the point after a timeout, but missed a serve to give the ball back to the Sailors.
Aug. 23: vs. Moffat County, W 25-11, 25-10, 25-16
Aug. 31 at Alamosa, L 21-25, 25-21, 15-17.
Aug. 31 at Peak to Peak, W 25-15, 25-8
Sept. 1 at Coal Ridge, L 25-18, 18-25, 11-15
Sept. 1 at Littleton, W 25-16, 25-20
Sept. 8: at Classical Academy, L 25-19, 18-25, 12-15
Sept. 8: Coronado, L 27-29, 22-25
Sept. 8: Mullen High School, L 22-25, 20-25
Sept. 8: Mountain View, W 20-25, 25-15, 25-12
Sept. 13: vs. Eagle Valley, L 18-25, 27-25, 25-14, 20-25, 13-15
Sept. 15: vs. Glenwood Springs, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 21: at Palisade, W 19-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-8
Sept. 22: at Rifle, W 25-13, 25-12, 25-20
Sept. 25: vs. Battle Mountain, W 25-16, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23.
Sept. 27: at Summit W 27-29, 25-13, 22-25, 25-21, 15-13
Oct. 4: at Eagle Valley L 18-25, 25-18, 12-25, 24-26
Oct. 6: at Glenwood Springs W 25-23, 25-22, 25-22
Oct. 12: vs. Palisade L 21-25, 27-29, 25-20, 25-23, 14-16
Oct. 13: vs. Rifle, W 25-17, 25-20, 25-8
Oct. 16: at Battle Mountain, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 18: vs. Summit, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 20: vs. Grand Junction, 6:30 p.m.
Then, Allsberry started firing. Allsberry aimed at the deep corner shot, making the Devils think it was out. Then, she’d try her hand at a short, shoot set, which enabled her to come in quickly, throw off the block and nail the ball at the 10-foot line.
In an endless rally, Allsberry slammed three balls at Devils senior Didi Trifonova before wearing her down for a kill to her left. The confidence in the hitting game on the Devils’ side wore down, forcing them to desperately tip or free ball over the net. Steamboat juniors Katelyn Kline and Ehlrich manned the back row. Ehlrich slid in for the shallow balls, while Kline caught the deep ones.
Steamboat handled the Devils easily that set 25-14.
Eagle Valley put that set to rest, getting back into a rhythm. The Devils grabbed a 23-16 over the Sailors, but the Sailors didn’t give up.
There were two plays where Kline slid across the floor towards her teammates on the bench, keeping a ball in play. Senior Abi Berlet added a pancake pass to keep the ball off the ground for the Sailors.
Senior Avery Harrington knocked a deep kill, allowing Ehlrich to go back and serve at 17-23.
Berlet and Harrington paired up for a block at 18-23, then Ehlrich grabbed her second ace. But Allsberry hit the net on her next hit, making it set point for the Devils, 19-24.
Allsberry redeemed herself on the next point, making it 20-24, but the Devils won the next, 25-20.
The tying started at 5-5, then 7-7, 8-8, 10-10, 11-11. The Sailors took a 13-11 lead on a battle of the push-tips, then the Devils called a timeout. Allsberry slammed a hit in the net, making it 13-12, then a serve-receive error tied it up 13-13.
Steamboat Springs called a timeout, hoping to break the Devils’ momentum, but the Sailors ended up in a string of bad passes on a serve to make it 13-14, and Allsberry missed the final hit 13-15.
Allsberry led the team with 19 kills and senior Maddie Heydon had 11. Harrington had 10 block assists and senior Sarah Heckel had nine. Ehlrich finished the match making 10 out of her 13 serves with two aces.
“I know we have the talent, if we play with that kind of heart and hustle, we’re going to win some big games this year.” Hall said.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Maryliz Gail sighed in relief for the first time in nearly a year Friday morning.