Glenwood Springs The Steamboat Sailors volleyball team successfully defended its title this weekend, winning the Glenwood Springs tournament for the third year in a row.
The Sailors, ranked No. 5 in the state, decisively defeated all five of their opponents in the two-day tournament that began Friday. The championship match came Saturday afternoon against Denver Lutheran. The Sailors won 15-4, 15-8.
"We definitely are coming out of here doing what we wanted to do win them all," head coach Wendy Hall said.
The Sailors had a strong start Saturday morning, finishing pool play with a 15-4, 15-0 win over Kennedy High School. Opposite hitter Bayli Stillwell was the star of the second game serving all of the team's 15 points.
A combination of strong serving and the solid defense kept Stillwell in the serving spot for the entire game.
Hall said she was pleased that the Sailors maintained their intensity throughout the tournament, regardless of the opponent.
"Not once were they just going through the motions," Hall said. "They gave everybody the best game they had for this time of year."
The Sailors followed the Kennedy win by beating Eagle Valley (15-10, 15-4) in the semifinals.
Though one of the Sailors' top league rivals hosted the tournament, the two teams did not meet. But Hall did get a chance to scout Glenwood Springs, which finished fifth after dropping a close game to Eagle Valley in pool play.
Steamboat and Glenwood Springs play at the end of this month.
Glenwood has lost many of its starters off last year's team, but Hall said they are returning a strong sophomore hitter, Amber Sutherland.
"They look good, really good," Hall said.
On the Sailors side, Hall said junior Katie Carter was the team's leading blocker and hitter for the tournament. She also noted that Abby Fritz and Allison Griffing kept the offense going with strong passing and Valerie Finch served well.
At setter, Rebecca Gray had a good weekend, Hall said.
Overall, Hall said the team had tremendous improvement from last week's scrimmages against Moffat County and Meeker. Team members worked on controlling their hitting during last week's practice.
"I think there was just a huge difference between the scrimmage last weekend and what we did this weekend," Hall said. "It was much better from what we saw last weekend."
The Sailors had a strong start in the tournament with a win over Roaring Fork (15-2, 15-5) Friday night and a win over Vail Christian (15-2, 15-4) Saturday morning.
The Sailors' next game, the first league game of the season, will be against Battle Mountain Thursday.