Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Steamboat Springs Hayden coach Kipp Rillos believes the 2002 volleyball team should be proud of its accomplishments this year, as well as future expectations it has hopefully created.
After finishing third in a league made tougher with the addition of three larger schools this season, the Tigers went to districts but came up short of their goal of advancing to regionals.
Rillos said the Hayden team should not be disappointed.
"To finish third in the league is quite an accomplishment," Rillos said. "I think their expectations of themselves changed a lot this year. They went into every match expecting to do well, and when they didn't, they were disappointed. That was encouraging for me to see them thinking about the future of our volleyball program."
Rillos said the key match was the district opener against Paonia. The top two teams in Pool A and B advanced, and with a talented Meeker squad in Hayden's pool, Rillos figured the winner of the Hayden/Paonia contest would advance to the semifinal round as the second team.
He was correct, but it was Paonia who won 15-6, 15-5.
"In the past we've always played at a neutral site," Rillos said. "And to walk into someone else's gym and play them off the start is tough, but it isn't anything that should prevent you from doing well."
Top-seeded North Park and second-seeded Meeker advanced to Saturday's regionals.
In the second match of pool play, Hayden defeated West Grand 15-5, 15-13. Adriana Svoboda had a team-high eight kills, while fellow senior Diane Hull had nine assists. Sophomore Kayla Kostur had two blocks.
In Hayden's final match of the season, the team was pitted against Meeker, one of three newcomers to the league this season. The Cowboys won 15-8, 15-11.
Svoboda once again paced the offense with eight kills. Kostur added five, while Hull had 10 assists. Junior Andrea Deepe contributed three blocks.
Rillos admitted at the beginning of the season, he was expecting the larger schools of Rangely, Meeker and Paonia to be far superior to the teams already in the 2A Western Slope, but that wasn't the case.
Despite having a larger number of athletes to select from, the Tigers and several other smaller schools played with the former 3A teams.
"I think (the team) realized it was just as good as anyone in the league," Rillos said. "Meeker and North Park had real good teams and everyone else was real competitive. It was a fun season."
The Tigers finished 11-11 overall and 5-3 in the league.