JV, freshman volleyball future's strong

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Regardless of the ages or faces of the players, the results are pretty much the same for the Steamboat Springs volleyball team year in and year out.

The varsity team finished an impressive 17-6 overall and picked up a second-place league finish this season. Meanwhile, the JV and freshmen quietly went a combined 32-7, ensuring the future of Sailors volleyball is strong.

Comprised of 10 sophomores and four juniors, Steamboat's JV team finished 17-2 this season, losing to Rangely's varsity in the first game of the year and dropping a three-set match to Glenwood Springs.

The Sailors avenged the loss to the Demons toward the end of the season, however, which made coach Susie Ritter proud.

"It was nice to work hard to come back and beat them, and we did that," Ritter said. "That was by far our closest match of the year."

Juniors Danielle Tredway, Tina Roberts and Kylie Douglas and sophomores Tara King, Hestia Chase and Missy Chotvacs suited both varsity and JV. A few of those players saw action in varsity matches this season.

The experience they gained, plus the return of varsity starters Stacy Cavanagh and Kristyn Bradbury, should allow Steamboat's tradition to remain strong next fall.

"We have some awesome girls coming up," Ritter said.

But it wouldn't surprise either Ritter or freshman coach Amanda Anzalone if some of this year's freshmen challenge for significant playing time at the JV -- if not the varsity-level next season.

The freshmen finished 15-5 this season in their first exposure to the playing style of high school volleyball.

After serving underhand in middle school, all were required to learn the technique of overhand serving, which Anzalone said they picked up toward the end of the season. Fourteen girls were out for freshman volleyball, the most Anzalone has seen, but she said they all worked well together.

"I think the biggest thing I noticed was that they always supported each other, especially with playing time, and sometimes that's a hard thing for girls to understand," Anzalone said. "I've never seen 14 girls work so well together."

Anzalone also commended Steamboat's freshman team on its inner drive to succeed. Every night she had players staying after practice to work more. On days off from school, the players wanted practice. They volunteered to take statistics for the varsity team because they couldn't get enough volleyball, Anzalone said.

It begins with the varsity, but everyone with Steamboat's program wants to -- and expects to -- win.

"Steamboat volleyball is a really exciting thing to be involved in, and it's a privilege to be involved in it," Anzalone said.

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