Sailors bedeviled in loss

Joel Reichenberger
Steamboat senior Maritza Wiedel reaches to try and stop an Eagle Valley hit Thursday. The Sailors struggled with the Devils offense all night and lost in four sets.
Joel Reichenberger

— It wasn’t that the Steamboat Springs volleyball team couldn’t get a lead. It was that it couldn’t keep one, and Thursday, the Sailors couldn’t slow Eagle Valley when they had to as the Devils managed to shock Steamboat in four sets.

Eagle Valley managed long serving stretches and found floor-splintering kills in the key moments to win, 25-21, 16-25, 25-23, 25-18.

“Our girls were able to stick to the basics and keep the game simple,” Eagle Valley coach Lindsey Myers said. “Our passing was really good. We were able to execute and put away the ball when we had out of system sets. Our serving was in, to the target and on point.”

There were two equally decisive and, for Steamboat, eerily similar, stretches on the night.

The first came in the third set, after each team had won one relatively handily. Steamboat had opened that set with some of its best volleyball of the night. The Sailors were led by Hayley Johnson, who had 15 kills, and Annie Osbourn, who had eight, and the squad had a 18-13 lead midway through the third.

“We hit pretty well. We kept the ball in play. We served well,” Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said.

But, Eagle Valley didn’t lie down, and behind junior Kylie Martin, both hitting and serving, the team roared back. It forced a tie at 22 before a big kill from Eagle Valley senior Carlee Morrison helped put the team over the top.

“That’s the first time this season I’ve seen our serve receive get shaky,” Hall said. “We’ve been so solid. It’s been such a constant thing for us, but tonight, they broke down a little bit.”

It was Martin who had the long string of solid serving in the fourth set. Steamboat again led, 16-12, but Eagle Valley scored the next 11 points and 13 of the final 15 in the match.

As strong as Eagle Valley’s serving and hitting were, Hall said the Sailors’ blocking was equally weak. In fact, in four sets, the team didn’t tally a single block.

“This game was lost at the net,” Hall said. “We have to match up better at the net to beat a team like that.”

The win gives Eagle Valley an leg up in the Western Slope race. At 3-0, it’s the only undefeated team remaining as Steamboat, Summit, Delta, Battle Mountain and Glenwood Springs are tied with one loss.

Eagle Valley will try to keep it that way at home Saturday against Palisade. Steamboat will play at home Saturday against Glenwood.

“We’ll play Eagle Valley again, but both teams have some really tough matches between now and then,” Hall said. “No one can be overlooked in this league, and if you do overlook someone, you’ll make a mistake.

“We have to focus on what we can control, and right now, that’s only Glenwood.”

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