The members of the Steamboat Springs Volleyball Club's 16-and-under team would love to finish their season by winning a regional title.
They will get the opportunity Sunday when they take the court at Grandview High School in Aurora.
"It's a big commitment for these girls to make," coach Jennifer Paoli said. 'They've been traveling across the state all winter, and a lot of them are playing high school sports this spring."
However, since January, Katy Gary, Natalie Nichols, Lisa Floyd, Breanne Murray, Molly Weiss, Lauren Marias and Lizzie Stoll have been spending several hours a week in the gym practicing volleyball. They also completed a rigorous tournament schedule. The team's schedule was the busiest it's been since the club formed two years ago.
The team, which is made mostly of ninth-graders, opened the season at the bottom of the eight level 16-and-under division. But the squad has moved up three ability levels this season.
"They've just done a phenomenal job this season, and we are excited for them," club director Marilou Jones said. "We are just trying to grow the volleyball culture in Steamboat, and these girls are helping us move the right way."
The team has won two seeding tournaments and won its last power tournament, which was hosted by the Matchpoint Volleyball Club in Colorado Springs.
This weekend the team will become the first Steamboat team to compete at the regional level when it takes the court Sunday morning.
The tournament will use a similar format to the state high school championships with teams going head to head in pool play. The top teams in the pool will then be cross-bracketed with the winners advancing to the next level.
The tournament will begin at 8 a.m. Sunday and continue all day. Teams will not know exactly when they play until the team captains meeting, which takes place before the first match.
There are 23 members in the Steamboat Volleyball Club. The club includes the 16-and-under team plus two 14-and-under teams. Jones said she would like to add an additional team next season.
The Steamboat Red team, which consists of eighth-graders, and the Steamboat Black team, which consists of seventh-graders, also qualified for the regional tournament. But elected not to go.
Jones said the club plans to hold clinics this summer and is always interested in finding new members. Call Jones at 879-2066.
-- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209
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