Sailor Lisa Floyd made getting to the semifinal round of the state tennis tournament look easy Thursday.
Steamboat's No. 3 player made quick work of Machebeuf sophomore Mikele Smith, 6-2, 6-1, in her first match of the day. Longmont's Brittany Roemer took a 4-3 advantage over Floyd in the second match. But Floyd made a few adjustments and pulled off a 6-4 come-from-behind win in the first set and then polished off the Longmont player in the second set, 6-0.
"I haven't played against that style of player in a long time," Floyd said after the match. "She gave me some problems with the lob early, but then John (Aragon) told me to play her cross court."
Floyd said Roemer initially used the lob to take her out of her game. But something clicked after she fell behind in the first set, and the Steamboat player decided that by moving to the net and placing her shots more aggressively, she could win the match.
Floyd doesn't expect things to be as easy in today's semifinals.
To earn the trophy, Floyd needs to get past Cheyenne Mountain's Casey Wetzig.
"She is definitely one of the top players in the state," coach John Aragon said. "But I think if Lisa comes out and plays her game, it should be one heck of a match."
Floyd and teammate Bre--anne Murray are the only two members of the Steamboat team who still have a shot at bringing home a state title.
Murray overcame a tough match with Pueblo Centennial senior Alicia Caputo in the first match of the day.
Murray won the first three games of the first set, but Caputo made a run of her own to tie the set at three games each.
"I'm not sure what happened," Murray said. "I think I let the crowd get to me, or I might have been a little overconfident."
But after allowing her opponent to tie the set, Murray regained her rhythm.
She took the first set, 6-3, and had a decided advantage in the second set. She did give up a few more games, but won the set, 6-4.
"It was amazing," Murray said of the opening day. "I really want to win the state title, and it just makes me play that much harder."
Murray will face Eaton's Whit--ney Cunningham in the semifinals. Murray beat Cunningham earlier this year, but expects another hard-fought match today.
The news wasn't as good for the other nine Sailors playing Thursday.
As expected, Steamboat's No. 1 singles player Kelli Parnell moved past first-round opponent Luccia Cafiero of Evergreen, 6-2, 3-6 and 6-1.
But her win set up a match against one of the state's best players, Christina Cutter of Cheyenne Mountain, in the quarterfinals.
Parnell played well, but Cutter was nearly flawless in a 6-2, 6-0 win against the Steamboat senior.
"She was a little tight at the start of the match and I was able to take advantage of it," Parnell said. "She is by far the best player that I've ever seen."
Despite losing, Parnell said the match was one of the most enjoyable she's ever played.
Because Cutter looks like a lock to make the finals, Parnell likely will get to continue in the tournament. She could finish as high as third in the playbacks, which will take place after the semifinal rounds today.
Like Parnell, Steamboat's doubles teams no longer have a shot at a state title.
But the squad's No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 teams could get another shot at placing in the playbacks.
Steamboat's No. 2 team of Adele Dombrowski and Kristin Toy advanced to the quarterfinals by beating Widefield's Stella Mainar and Erin Ravin in the first round. But the team lost to Evergreen's Tara Clancy and Angela Bakas, 6-2, 6-1, in the quarterfinals.
The Steamboat team needs Evergreen to top Pine Creek in the semifinals for another shot.
The Sailors No. 3 team of Brittany DeGroff and Rebecca Timmerman also won its opening match against Fountain Valley, but then lost in the quarterfinals to Greeley West, 6-3, 6-3. The Sailors will be cheering for the Greeley team to upset Mullen in the semifinals to earn a position in the playbacks.
Finally, Steamboat's No. 4 team got a gift when Greeley West topped Regis in the final match Thursday.
After losing to Greeley's Mary Kloberdanz and Annie Pierce in the opening round, Steamboat's Anya Salzgeber and Kerry Enochs would welcome the chance for at least one more match.
The news isn't as good for the Sailor's No. 1 team of Stacy Cavanagh and Molly Weiss. The pair lost to Silver Creek's Annie Weiner and Lexi Laursen in the opening match, and that team was beaten in the next round.
"Our ladies have come a long way since last year," coach Aragon said. "I was hoping we would have more players in the semifinals. We had our opportunities, but we didn't capitalize on a couple of big points and it cost us games, and matches."
Still, the coach is happy with Steamboat's showing this year and thinks the team is on track to build one of the top programs in the state.