Steamboat Springs The Moffat County High School volleyball team struggled to find a way to stop Steamboat Springs' dangerous offensive attack in Tuesday night's league contest in the Sailors' gym.
The Bulldog players were still trying to figure it out as they were boarding the bus for a ride back to Craig following the 15-2, 15-2 loss to the Sailors. It was the second time this year the Bulldogs have fallen to the Sailors in league play.
The win improved Steamboat to 5-0 in the conference and sets up a showdown with Glenwood the only other undefeated team in the Western Slope this Thursday.
"We started to get our game together at the end of the match," Bulldogs coach Rosie Lear said. "But it was way too late. We needed to play with that kind of energy and focus from the start of the match."
Fueled by top hitter Katie Carter, who finished with nine kills, the Sailors' attack would have seemed unstoppable to most of the teams in the Western Slope Tuesday night. When Carter wasn't killing the ball, her teammates Abby Fritz, Bayli Stillwell and Lizzie Sack made sure the offense kept rolling. Each of those players also had four kills in the Steamboat victory.
"Coach Hall always says that a good defense will win matches," Sailors senior middle blocker Sack said. "But killing the ball has seemed to be our best defense at least at times this season."
The Sailors finished the match with 24 kills and just three errors. Rebecca Gray had her choice of targets as she set up most of her teammates with 20 assists on the night.
Moffat County was limited to just four kills in the match as seniors Kate Schafer, Amanda Tomlinson and junior Ashlee Hafey took turns pumping the ball over the net. Another junior, Brittany Hutton, also supplied a kill in the sporadic offensive showing by the bulldogs.
"It wasn't our smartest performance of the season," Lear said.
The Bulldogs' Schafer and Brandie Telfer each blocked Sailor shots at the net. Telfer also made digs down the stretch, but it was not enough to spark a comeback against the league-leading Sailors.
"We are just playing at such a high level right now," Sack said. "It's just a lot of fun out on the court right now."
Steamboat coach Wendy Hall was very happy with her team's performance in the match against Moffat County.
"You always have to be concerned about a letdown at this point of the season," Hall said. "Since the loss to Middle Park we have been mentally prepared for every match, but you never know about a team and you just want to make sure that you don't have a dip especially now."
The Sailors, who are 11-1 overall, will face a huge test on Thursday as they prepare to take on another undefeated team in Glenwood. The Demons are also at the top of the league and are 9-0 overall. This will be the two teams' first meeting of the season.
"We are both undefeated in league," Sack said. "But only one of us will come out of the match leading the league. It's a huge game for both teams."
The Demons played and beat Moffat County earlier in the season. Lear said her team made a match out of it losing 15-3 in the first game and 15-12 in the second.
The Bulldogs will face Battle Mountain on Thursday. Moffat County is now 1-4 in the Western Slope and 4-11 overall.