Steamboat Springs An inexperienced Moffat County girls volleyball team will come to Steamboat Springs tonight with a 2-0 conference record, high expectations and a new attitude.
"It's been a good start to the season," Bulldogs coach Vicki Hadden said. "I've got a bunch of new kids this season, and they hate to lose."
In fact, Moffat County returns just two players from last year's squad. Setter Emily Mortenson is back, as is outside hitter Amber Sanchez. The team is off to a hot start, winning its first two conference games and going 5-1 overall.
Most of the Bulldogs' starting rotation is new for the 2000 season. But Sailors head coach Wendy Hall said her team's approach to the Bulldogs challenge will remain pretty much the same.
"We always bring a little extra to it when it's Craig," Hall said. "But we don't have the same rivalry as some of the boys' sports with Moffat County. I think these two teams treat each other with a lot of respect."
Sailors outside hitter Jessica Fritz agree with her coach.
"It's fun to play Moffat County just because it's Craig," Fritz said. "I think we all get up for the game, but I think Rifle is still our biggest rival."
The Sailors will enter the game with a 2-1 record in conference play. Steamboat is 7-1 overall.
Steamboat is coming off a three-game victory over Glenwood Springs. Moffat County knocked off Palisade 15-10, 10-15 and 15-13.
"We didn't know what to expect from them," Hadden said of Palisade. "It turned into a pretty tight match."
Hadden and her team will not be caught off-guard by the Sailors, however. They scouted Steamboat against Rifle on Sept. 5.
"It was a very good match for both teams," Hadden said. "I think it also gave our team some confidence."
The Bulldogs have struggled in recent years against the Sailors. Steamboat has won every match for the past three years.
Hadden is hoping her team can turn the tide tonight, but Steamboat will be looking to stay close to unbeaten Rifle in the conference standings.
Matches will start with the freshmen at 4 p.m., the junior varsity at 5 p.m. and the varsity at 6 p.m.
"We have to win every match now," Fritz said.
She added that is the only way the Steamboat can tie or possibly beat Rifle for the conference title.
To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail email@example.com