Spikers chase away Demons

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Jessica Johnson tallied eight kills and Maggie McElhinney dished out 16 assists as the Steamboat Sailors volleyball team defeated the Glenwood Springs Demons in two games at home Oct. 14.

Johnson, who had 13 kills in Steamboat's victory over Rifle Oct. 12, nailed five spikes against Glenwood in the first game. Johnson scored the Sailors' final three points of the game on spikes as Steamboat pulled off a 15-7 win.

The momentum stayed in favor of the Sailors in game two as Abby Fritz led her squad to an 8-0 lead as the team's server. Glenwood's Jacque Collins eventually ended Fritz' serving streak.

Steamboat took an 11-1 lead on an ace served by Bayli Stillwell, but the Sailors then went cold as the Demons tightened the gap to 9-13.

Johnson preserved the victory when she served the game's final two points to end the score 15-9.

Katie Carter finished with six kills and no errors for the Sailors, and Stillwell ended with four kills. Fritz was 13-13 in serves and Stillwell went 8-8 with two aces. Jessica Fritz also went 8-8 and had an ace.

The Sailors, 15-2 and 8-2, next travel to Craig to play the Bulldogs of Moffat County Thursday. Steamboat won the previous meeting between the two teams 15-12, 15-0 at home.

The win over Glenwood was Steamboat's third consecutive since the team fell to Palisade Oct. 7. Steamboat scored a huge win over 3A Metropolitan contender Middle Park on Oct. 9 and followed with the league victory over Rifle.

Against Rifle, Lauren Dargevics and Carter teamed up for six blocks and McElhinney had 28 assists. Carter had five kills and Stillwell ended with four.

The Sailors, ranked No. 10 in 4A, have two games remaining on their regular-season schedule.

Following the Moffat County match Thursday, Steamboat faces Battle Mountain Saturday. The district tournament is slated to begin Oct. 28.

Sailors coach Wendy Hall was encouraged by her team's performances in its past three matches, she said.

The win over Rifle, Hall said, was an excellent way to bounce back from the Palisade loss. Steamboat and Rifle are now tied for first place in the Western Slope conference.

The Sailors trailed the Bears 11-14 in the third game of the match before Steamboat rallied to win 16-14. Carter and McElhinney made key blocks near the end of the game to lead the Sailors to the match victory.

"Definitely down in Rifle we had to come up with some big plays to win that match," Hall said. "The third game was one of those games that only happens a few times in a coaching career. It was pretty incredible."

In the third game alone, the two teams battled back and forth for 41 sideouts.

McElhinney said her team was ecstatic after the victory.

"When the last point was called out, we were just mosh-pitting each other," McElhinney said. "We were just real excited."

Thursday's match at Moffat County is scheduled to begin at

6 p.m.

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