Steamboat volleyball team downs Summit in homecoming matchup
Steamboat Springs — The students at Steamboat Springs High School have been celebrating homecoming all week, and Thursday the members of the Sailors volleyball team kept the party rolling with a 3-0 victory against the visiting Summit Tigers.
“Honestly when we play well, when we play like we did tonight, I think we can beat anybody,” Sailor coach Wendy Hall said after the match.
There was no question that Steamboat was ready to play when it took the floor in the game against Summit, a team that came into the match tied with Steamboat in the league standings. An aggressive attack, and several key blocks helped the Sailors set the tone and jump out to a 18-9 lead in the opening game. Steamboat never took it’s foot off the gas in the set and cruised to a 25-15 victory in the first game. Steamboat closed out the match with 25-11 and 25-17 wins in the final two games.
“They came out swinging that’s for sure,” Summit coach Liz Waddick said. “We are working on running a quick offense. I think our girls did a good job trying to execute that offense, but I don’t think it was as successful as they wanted.”
Steamboat was also able to limit the Tigers 6-foot-3-inch sophomore AnnaMarie Dodson who finished the night with only six kills. The rest of Summits hitters struggled to get to the net, when they did the Sailors limited their opportunities with 10 team blocks.
“Things are staring to come together. We picked it up against Rifle this week, and that was a confidence builder,” said Raya Duryea, who was involved in five blocks. “It was really nice to get this win under our belt, and it was super special to win on homecoming. There is a lot of pressure put on this night and Wendy told us to come out here and play our hearts out and do what we know we can do.”
In addition to tough blocks at the net and some great digs on the floor, the Sailors were led by an offense that had one of its best showings of the season, so far.
The team was led in kills by junior middle blocker Este Wilkinson, who collected 13. Anna Allsberry also had a solid night with 12 kills, and Micah Feeley added nine more despite a sore shoulder that has limited the number of swings she is allowed to take in practice the past couple of weeks.
“We had three hitters really contributing equally — I love that, “ Hall said. “We have been averaging three blocks a match, but tonight we had 10. Blocks are huge because, it neutralizes the other team’s offense a little bit and it can help your defense. When you block the ball it also gets into the hitters heads and they are thinking about that the next time the go for the kill.”
Hall was also impressed with the way Feeley has been able to adjust her game and overcome her injury.
“We’ve been holding her back during the week. She has had some shoulder soreness right now, and we are not quite sure if it is just a muscle, or if it is a structural issue. But she has changed her game and is getting kills off these little tricky off speed roll shots. I think the changes she has had to make have expanded her arsenal and her options to find the floor.”
The win was a big for Steamboat, which is currently sitting in the middle of the Western Slope standings with a 3-3 record in league play and 7-9 record overall. The win moves the Sailors ahead of Summit as the Tigers fall to 2-4 in league and 4-8 overall. The Tigers are sitting just ahead of Glenwood Springs in sixth and last place Rifle. Eagle Valley is leading the league at 7-0 and is 12-2 overall and is followed by Palisade at 5-1 in league and 8-5 overall. Battle Mountain is in third with a 4-3 record in league play and 5-4 record overall.
More importantly the Sailors are in the 31st position in the RPI points standings. At the end of the season, the top-36 teams will earn a post-season berth, and Hall is hoping that her team will be able to move up in the final stretch of the season that will include key matches against Eagle Valley, Battle Mountain and Palisade.
“As the season goes on we are gaining a little more confidence in what we are doing each week and I feel like we are gaining a little more constancy,” Hall said. “I feel like they are starting to believe that maybe this isn’t a rebuilding year, maybe this can be our year — Honestly we have the ability to make this our year.”
Feeley is also looking forward to making a move in the final part of the season and she likes the team’s chances.
“I feel like it is one of those things where we have finally been able to build with each other. We have been able to grow as a team, and we have been able to grow as one unit. Every team has a moment in the season that’s a rough patch, but I feel like we have had that moment and now we are ready to go.”
Steamboat freshmen also won 23-25, 25-22, 15-13. and the junior varsity won 25-22, 25-22.
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It is going to be a hot week in Steamboat Springs.