A two-week ski camp in Austria interrupted Tina Roberts' volleyball season, but when the Steamboat Springs senior and competitive Alpine racer returned to Colorado, she was greeted by a pleasant surprise. The Sailors had clinched second place in the Western Slope League and finally found the cohesive confidence Roberts said they needed. On Saturday, Steamboat wrapped up the regular season with a 25-18, 25-17, 25-16 win against Delta.
On Friday, Steamboat fell to league champion Palisade in four games, 14-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-17, but the Sailors' win in the first game was one of their better games of the season. The next six games, including the three against Delta, however, weren't Steamboat's best. Now, Steamboat has the next few days to rediscover its confidence before the team leaves for the district tournament Friday. "I was very excited about where this team was when I got back," Roberts said. "I think this weekend could have been better. We slipped back into the way we had been playing (before I left), but I think it ended the right way."
In fact, the Sailors' best point against Delta came on match point. Senior Kristyn Bradbury was rewarded for a perfect pass when junior setter Tara King delivered a perfect backward set to Bradbury for a cross-court kill. Bradbury had no bad passes Saturday. She also led the team with eight kills.
King finished with two kills and 27 assists.
Steamboat established sizable leads in all three games, but let up in the first two before rallying to win. The match went back and forth with both teams making their share of mental and physical mistakes. In the third game, the Sailors did a much better job of closing out the Panthers. Steamboat opened up a 13-9 lead, and a series of kills from Bradbury, sophomore Katie Mills and junior Hestia Chase helped the Sailors extend their lead to 20-12. Steamboat went on to win, 25-16. Mills and junior Erin Gleason finished with seven kills against Delta. Chase had three kills. The Sailors were equally dominant with their blocking game with a combined 20 blocks. Gleason had six blocks. King had five. Chase had four blocks, and Mills and Roberts combined for five blocks. Steamboat finished the regular season at 13-5 overall and 10-4 in the league, which was good enough for second place. That finish will send the Sailors to Colorado Springs as the No. 2 seed for next weekend's district tournament, Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said.
The Colorado High School Activities Association will release its official pairings Monday, but Hall said Steamboat likely would be traveling to Cheyenne Mountain High School for the district tournament.
The district tournament is a six-team tournament. It begins with pool play, and the top two teams in both pools will advance and crossover to play two teams in the other pool. The top two will advance to the regional tournament, the final stop before the state tournament.
In addition to Steamboat and Palisade, Glenwood Springs, Eagle Valley, Battle Mountain and Moffat County will represent the league in postseason action.
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