Tigers, Rams set for Friday face-off | SteamboatToday.com

Tigers, Rams set for Friday face-off

Joel Reichenberger

— For the Hayden High School volleyball team, the highlight of the 2014 season came about an hour before it was officially over.

The Tigers struggled through much of the season, enduring three losing streaks of at least three games and losing decisively twice to their cross-county rival, Soroco, 3-0 early in the season and 3-1 midway through.

In the district playoffs at Soroco, however, Hayden got its revenge, playing its best volleyball of the season in a 3-0 sweep of the Rams.

“It was awesome,” Hayden coach Dayna Hunter said, grinning, during Wednesday’s practice.

At 6 p.m. Friday in Hayden, the teams will meet again for the first time this season.

“That was something we worked towards, and hopefully, we’ll have a good ending to the game this year, too,” Hunter said.

On paper, the matchup isn’t entirely different than it was a year ago.

Hayden has struggled early, losing its only two matches.

Soroco has fared better, going 2-1 at a tournament last weekend in its first action of the season.

“We have a new team this year,” Soroco coach Jeannie Jo Logan said. “Against Hayden, they have to play how they know they can play. They have to stay focused and play their game.”

The Tigers are hoping they have a much deeper team than they did in 2014, and they’re hoping that experience and savvy can come into play as they charge into their league schedule.

The team played just one senior last year, relying on juniors and sophomores to fill in around the court.

Now, they want that to pay off.

“We’re further along this year than we were last year, and that gives the girls a little extra confidence,” Hunter said.

Soroco, meanwhile, brings back four players who saw extensive varsity minutes, including middle hitter Lucy Carlson, who, at 6-feet, 1 inch, will be the tallest player on the court Friday.

She’s one of five seniors on the Rams’ varsity roster.

Those girls also remember the day last October when their season ended, but they’re ready to write a new chapter in the Soroco-Hayden rivalry.

“We don’t dwell on the past,” Logan said. “We learn from it, but we have to move on. Hayden has a new team this year, too. It’s an all new season, but of course, it’s Hayden, so everyone’s hungry.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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