White lies and orange victory: Hayden volleyball team defeats Rangely, wears funny shirts

The Hayden volleyball team wore t-shirts with white lies ahead of the game against Rangely Thursday night. From left, senior Jillian Bennett, junior Tessa Booco, sophomore Jenna Kleckler, sophomore Emily Rajzer, senior Cassidy Wall, senior Piper Jo Jones. (Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today)

HAYDEN — During warmups on Thursday night, the Hayden High School girls volleyball team wore T-shirts with white lies, inspired by a TikTok trend. Each player wore a white shirt with a phrase written in permanent marker that was an obviously incorrect statement.

Senior Piper Jo Jones wore a shirt that said, “I never throw things at my teammates,” referring to a time she chucked a Tupperware lid at sophomore teammate Jenna Kleckler and beaned her in the ear.

Senior Cassidy Wall proudly donned a shirt that read, “I am the most graceful player on the court.” Wall, for better or for worse, spends a lot of time hitting the hardwood during a game.

If they were to all wear a matching white lie shirt, it would probably say, “The Hayden High School girls volleyball team never has any fun.”

The Tigers won in four sets over Rangely, and that is not a lie.

“They talked,” said head coach Kaitlyn Rudolph. “They were on the same page on the court. They knew exactly where everybody was. They trusted each other. … Just the cohesion was so nice.”

Hayden opened the night with confidence, winning the first set 25-17. While a close bout, the Tigers led the whole way. Rangely’s net presence put a stop to the Tigers offense in the second. The Panthers won out 25-17.

In the third set was close, but the Tigers chased most of the way. They trailed 1-2, 8-9, then 11-12 before an out-of-bounds Panthers hit tied the game at 13. A pair of aces from Tessa Booco and a Bella Svoboda slam earned Hayden a 16-13 lead. Soon enough, Hayden led 20-14.

Ema Sclim, a junior on the Hayden volleyball team, smacks the ball towards the visitors during a game against Rangely Thursday night. (Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today)

The Panthers clawed back within range of victory, 21-20, forcing a Tigers timeout. Returning to the floor, Rangely tied the set at 21.

Panthers and Tigers exchanged blows until the game sat tied at 25. A Rangely attack went long and out of bounds, giving Hayden a 26-25 lead and putting sophomore Emily Rajzer on the service line. She sent the ball perfectly over the net, careening towards the Rangely back line. A pair of Panthers watched as the ball dropped in bounds. Rajzer leaped into the air, celebrating the win.

“Once we all figured out where to put the ball and what to adjust to, that got us some points back,” Rajzer said.

Bella Svoboda, a junior on the Hayden volleyball team, rises high off the floor for a hit during a game against Rangely Thursday night. (Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today)

The tense competition lasted through the fourth. The teams went back and forth, tying the game every couple points and taking turns leading for a moment. Finally, a Rajzer tip broke the pattern and gave Hayden a 12-9 lead. Rangely started to crumble. With Svoboda serving, Ragely put three straight balls out of bounds, stretching the Tigers advantage to 17-11, and eventually 25-16.

The Tigers are on the edge of the top 36 teams, which move on to playoffs, but aren’t holding their breath. If that was the end for the 2021 team, it was a good way to finish.

“We fought so hard this season,” said senior Aveory Lighthizer. “We had such a good record compared to last year. It just really warms my heart to end on such a good note.”

Hayden 3, Rangely 1

H 25 17 27 25 – 3

R 18 25 25 16 – 1

[swift-naviga-reusable-snippet uuid=”182862e9-c80a-4c71-a155-9fee008e10f2″ /]

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.