Sailors volleyball turns away Huskies

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Nearly one month after the Battle Mountain volleyball team soundly beat Steamboat Springs, the Sailors returned the favor with an impressive 25-14, 25-13, 25-22 win Saturday.

"The roles were reversed," Huskies coach Brian Doyon said. "Their game has stepped up. Their fire and desire has improved."

On Sept. 23, Battle Mountain won in four games behind Steamboat's errors and a raucous home atmosphere.

Saturday, the Huskies were the ones making errant passes and hitting inconsistently, and the Sailors took advantage.

"We played really well," Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said. "I think they are a better team than they showed (Saturday), but when one team plays better defensively, it can throw you off."

Steamboat did an excellent job getting its hands on nearly everything Battle Mountain hit over the net. The passes were easier because the blockers were active and successful at tipping balls in the air.

Steamboat sophomore Erin Gleason had seven blocks, including four solo blocks.

The Sailors and Huskies were close through Game 1 until three consecutive kills from senior Kristyn Bradbury helped Steamboat distance itself, 18-12.

Two Battle Mountain errors later, Steamboat held a 20-12 advantage and went on to win five of the next seven points to close out the game.

The Sailors took control of Game 2 at about the same point they pulled away in the first. With the score at 11-10 in favor of Steamboat, Battle Mountain missed a serve. Sailors junior Tara King followed with an ace, and sophomore Katie Mills added two kills to give Steamboat a 15-11 lead. Mills went on to serve nine points, giving Steamboat a 24-11 lead in a game that ended moments later.

The third game saw Steamboat once again go on a run midway through, but this time Battle Mountain rallied to close the gap to 22-19 before a bad serve from the Huskies, coupled with a kill from Steamboat junior Hestia Chase, gave the Sailors match point at 24-20

But Bradbury missed a serve on match point, giving the ball back to the Huskies. They scored one more point, 24-22, but a Battle Mountain hitting error ultimately ended the match.

Since losing to Palisade on Oct. 1, Steamboat has reeled off six straight wins against league opponents to improve to 9-3 in Western Slope League play, taking firm control over second place in the standings.

The Sailors helped distance themselves this week with straight-set wins against Glenwood Springs, Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain.

The team started to come together and play well when it began its second run through the league at the beginning of October, junior Missy Chotvacs said.

"I think we have a lot more trust in each other," she said.

Mills led all hitters Saturday with 12 kills for the Sailors. Bradbury added six. Chase had three kills, and Chotvacs and King each had two. For Battle Mountain, Crystin Rodrick had 11 kills. Nicole Penwill had five.

King had 26 assists for the Sailors. Nicole Lindroth had 22 kills for the Huskies.

Steamboat's freshmen defeated Battle Mountain, 25-14, 25-23. Steamboat's junior varsity won in three, 29-31, 25-21, 15-10.

Steamboat also played Summit on Saturday. The Sailors defeated the Tigers in three, 25-13, 25-21, 25-16.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208

or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com.

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