Eagle Valley sinks Steamboat to continue six-year winning streak over Sailors
The Steamboat Springs and Eagle Valley high school volleyball teams have long been nemesis. The Sailors look forward to meeting the Devils every fall, seeking a stop to the losing streak that has gone on too long.
The last time Steamboat Springs bested the Devils was Oct. 22, 2015, when the Sailors were the survivor of a five-set thriller, in which two sets saw extra points. Since then, the Devils have won 11 straight over the Sailors, most recently defeating them 3-1 at home in mid-September.
Steamboat won the opening set Tuesday night, but Eagle Valley won the next three to keep the streak alive.
“I think (Steamboat) is one of the more challenging teams in the Western Slope, so it’s always fun to play them,” said Battle Mountain senior Kylee Hughes. “They have a pretty good coach, and she’s well aware of the game, so I think that helps a lot.”
Once the Devils started serving, the Sailors started slipping. They had trouble receiving serves. Their second hit was usually someone chasing down the ball, making the third a last-ditch effort to get the ball over the net. That made it very easy for Eagle Valley to run its offense.
“It’s definitely been a strength of ours this season,” said Eagle Valley head coach Mike Garvey. “We missed six serves in the first set. … Then sets two, three, four that became our advantage.”
Steamboat was out of whack and out of system in the third, reacting frantically to the Eagle Valley offense. The Devils placed the ball so well, Sailors flailed out a fist to prevent it from hitting the ground, only to send the ball careening into an unreachable corner. Two Steamboat players watched, not talking, as the ball dropped between them, unsure of whose hit it was. The Devils glided effortlessly to a 25-13 win to take a 2-1 lead.
“That’s their tactic. They’re willing to miss some serves,” said Steamboat Springs head coach Wendy Hall. “It’s a little bit different than how we handle ourselves. We definitely got rattled a little bit tonight, unfortunately. There’s no reason for that. They’re all such good players.”
Hall told her team that they weren’t playing together. Whether they play poorly or wonderfully, they need to support each other. Something, she said, clicked.
Junior Ashlyn Robson served her team to a 6-0 lead in the fourth, but the Devils clawed back quickly to tie the set at 10.
Steamboat developed another small lead, but hits from sophomore Talia Crawford and senior Kylee Hughes tied the set again at 16. A Crawford block gave the Devils an 18-17 lead.
Steamboat wouldn’t go down easy, though. Sophie Diehl used a huge hit to keep the game close and tied at 21.
Eagle Valley remembered its motto, ‘fight,’ and finished on top 25-22.
“We didn’t give up,” Hughes said. “One of our (mottos) is, ‘fight.’ So, we try to find our fight and keep going.”
The loss was the last home game for Steamboat’s senior seven. They travel to take on Battle Mountain on Wednesday.
“I feel bad for them, that they didn’t get a win tonight,” Hall said. “I do feel like there is something to be taken away from that fourth set after really not playing well at all in the second and third and being able to bounce back a little bit.”
Eagle Valley 3, Steamboat Springs 1
SS 25 17 13 22 – 1
EV 23 25 25 25 – 3
Aug. 24 - at Moffat County, W 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-20)
Aug. 26 - vs. Middle Park, W 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-18)
Aug. 31 - at Soroco, L 3-1 (25-22, 18-25, 24-26, 23-25)
Sept. 3-4 Glenwood Springs Tournament, 3rd of 11
Sept. 14 - at Eagle Valley, L 3-1 (25-23, 16-25, 25-22, 25-23)
Sept. 16 - vs. Battle Mountain, W 3-1 (25-23, 25-18, 19-25, 26-24)
Sept. 18 - at Thornton Tournament
Sept. 21 - at Glenwood Springs, W 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-21, 26-24)
Oct. 1 - at Summit, W 3-0 (25-16, 26-24, 25-5)
Oct. 8 - at Palisade, L 3-0 (25-14, 25-23, 25-13)
Oct. 11 - at Summit, W 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-13)
Oct. 14 - vs. Glenwood Springs, W 3-1 (25-19, 17-25, 26-24, 25-18)
Oct. 19 - vs. Eagle Valley, W 3-1 (23-25, 25-17, 25-13, 25-22)
Oct. 20 - at Battle Mountain, W 3-0 (25-10, 25-19, 25-18)
Oct. 23 - at Aspen, 2 p.m.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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