Tigers, Sailors end volleyball season with hard-fought regional campaigns

Steamboat volleyball senior Tya Drennen puts a ball down early in the first set of a match against Soroco on Oct. 27, 2022. Earning a bid to regionals, the Sailors fought valiantly against Niwot but ultimately falling 3-0 to narrowly miss a trip to the state championships.
Tom Skulski/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Earning bids to their respective regional tournaments, the Hayden and Steamboat Springs volleyball teams traveled to compete in their three-team brackets on Saturday, Nov. 5. 

Going up against Cedaredge and Fowler in the 2A regional, Hayden was faced with two tough opponents, especially a Fowler team that only lost one game in the regular season. 

The Tigers fought hard in a five-set match against Cedaredge with the game coming down to the final points but it was the Ceaderedge Bruins who came out on top 3-2. 

Hayden still had a chance to even things up among all teams when it matched against the Fowler Grizzlies in the afternoon. The Grizzlies took an early advantage and never looked back, taking the match in straight sets 3-0.

In high school volleyball regionals, the winning team of each bracket advances to the state championships, meaning Fowler advanced to state, ending Hayden’s season. 

Hayden’s first year head coach Becky Copeland was proud of her girls to make it this far and is confident that this is just the beginning for her team. 

“They played hard and gave it their all, but we just couldn’t pull this one out,” Copeland said. “I am so proud of their heart, determination and attitudes. I couldn’t ask for a better group of young ladies, it has been a great season. We will be back next year, stronger than ever.”

Hayden volleyball junior Emily Rajzer connects with the ball against Moffat County on Sept. 13, 2022. The Tigers earned a bid to the 2A regional tournament but fell short of states with two losses at regionals.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

Traveling to Niwot for its regional tournament, Steamboat Springs volleyball was seeded No. 18, putting it right in the middle of a field of 36 in the 4A regional. 

The Sailors took care of business in their opening match against Pueblo East, 3-1. With Niwot doing the same, Steamboat’s hopes of a berth to the state championships hinged on its match against the Niwot Cougars. 

Steamboat head coach Wendy Hall was impressed with the size of Niwot’s team and said her girls were much smaller comparatively. 

“Niwot put a ton of pressure on us not only with their offensive attack but also from the service line,” Hall said. “As poorly as they served against Pueblo East in the very first match of the day, they served us incredibly well and we struggled with our serve-receive.”

The Sailors were down 2-0 in the match but fought for pride in the third set, keeping it close in a 25-20 set loss. Hall said the girls left with their heads held high and left everything out there in the third set. 

Six Steamboat seniors will graduate this year with six more taking their place for next season. Hall thought it was a fantastic season and said it was an honor to coach this group of girls.

“I was just proud of where everybody’s hearts were,” Hall said. “Everybody that we took down to Niwot was all on the same page and it really felt like in the locker room after the game that I know everybody’s heart was all in. As a coach that is all you can ask for.”

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