Sailors spike first-round competition

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— The Steamboat Springs volleyball team is off to the start it expected, as district play opened Friday night in Craig.

The Sailors defeated No. 8-seed Rifle and No. 4-seed Montrose handily to open pool play 2-0, assuring themselves of a spot in today's semifinals.

Steamboat plays Palisade at 10:30 a.m. at Moffat County High School to wrap up pool play. The winner will be the top seed from Pool A, while the loser will be the second seed heading into the semifinals.

Steamboat did not lose to Palisade during the regular season.

Steamboat didn't fall to Rifle or Montrose during the regular season either, and kept its 14-game winning streak alive by beating both teams Friday night.

The Sailors opened with a 15-3, 15-2 win over Rifle, and followed it with a 15-5, 15-1 victory over a Montrose team that Steamboat coach Wendy Hall expected to provide some competition.

While the score didn't reflect it, Hall said the Sailors were challenged.

"They really came after us," Hall said. "I was pleased with the way we stepped up when they stepped up."

After losing to Palisade earlier on Friday, Montrose had to beat the Sailors to keep its season alive, and Hall said that's how the Indians played like everything was one the line.

Hall said Steamboat hit and passed unbelievably well, committing no hitting errors in the final game. The Sailors, now 20-1 overall, are playing their best volleyball at the perfect time.

Today they will shoot for a high seed in next weekend's regional tournament.

The four teams in Pool B are Cortez, Glenwood Springs, Battle Mountain and Moffat County.

After the 10:30 a.m. match against Palisade, Steamboat will open semifinal play at either 1 or 2:15 p.m. Should they win their semifinal match, the Sailors will play in the championship game at 5 p.m.

All of today's matches are at Moffat County High School.

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