Steamboat volleyball works through weaknesses in tournament play
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs High School head volleyball coach Wendy Hall believes tournaments are important to schedule at the beginning of the season.
“Having to play back-to-back situations is what you have to do in tournaments,” Hall said. “So, that’s good practice for us in that regard. But more than anything else, it reveals what our weaknesses are and what we need to focus on. I think that’s why I like playing in tournaments before league play.”
The Sailors went 2-2 this past weekend, defeating Peak to Peak and Littleton anddropping two close matches with No. 8 in class 3A Alamosa and Coal Ridge.
In its 21-25, 25-21, 15-17 loss to Alamosa on Friday, Aug. 31, Steamboat Springs served for match point then fell short after committing two errors.
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But the loss against Coal Ridge on Saturday, Sept. 1 saw a different struggle. The Sailors were unable to establish a solid blocking game but fell 25-18, 18-25, 11-15.
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.
Both matches saw a total of three blocks each for Steamboat. Senior Anna Allsberry registered 10 kills against Alamosa and eight against Coal Ridge, but efficiencies across the board were low, meaning more hits went out than in.
If that’s fixed, the kill numbers for Allsberry and others could increase substantially.
“Our hitting efficiency was very poor all weekend,” Hall said. “We’re hitting the ball not in the court way too much, and that’s not just hitters, that’s setting accuracy. Passing helps out the setters; setters help out the hitters.”
Senior Katelyn Kline can help with that from the ground level. Kline had a standout weekend in her tournament debut as a varsity player. She anchored the Sailors when they needed it most, registering eight digs against Coal Ridge and a tournament-high 12 digs against Alamosa. She also racked up 30 total digs for the weekend.
“I think Katelyn Kline played the most steady of everybody with her serving, passing and back-row defense,” Hall said. “I love recognizing defensive kids.”
But the perfect pass isn’t always possible, which sends an offense into what’s called an out-of-system scheme. When this is the case, the perfect set isn’t always possible, but it’s important to still be able to put away a difficult ball, not a free ball over the net.
“We have hitters that can hammer a ball,” Hall said. “But they’ve got to understand, when they’re not in rhythm, they’ve got to be able to place the ball. So we’ll work on a lot of those deep-corner shots.”
Hall will focus on out-of-system hitting and placement this week in practice leading up to more difficult competition at the Silver Creek Tournament in Longmont this weekend, where the Sailors will face schools like the Classical Academy and Coronado, which is receiving votes for a top-10 ranking in Class 4A.
Then, Steamboat will return home for its league opener on Thursday, Sept. 13 against Eagle Valley, the defending Class 4A Western Slope League champion.
“This weekend overall was a really good weekend for volleyball for Steamboat,” Hall said. “We played with energy, good communication, and I thought they fought hard.”
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