Tigers, Rams head to district playoffs

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The Soroco High School vol-leyball team topped Coal Ridge in three games Monday night to complete the lineup for this year's District 5 volleyball tournament in Paonia.

Eight teams, including two from Routt County, will take the court this weekend to play for the right to advance to the regional tournament.

The Hayden High School team will open the district tournament against No. 2 Paonia at 3 p.m. Friday at Paonia Junior High School.

"It's going to be a loud gym," Hayden coach Becky Burdick said. "But as long as we can keep our girls up, I feel like we have a pretty good chance."

The Tigers, 6-11, are scheduled to face No. 4 Rangely at 8:15 p.m. Friday and No. 6 Grand Valley at 9:45 a.m. Saturday.

Burdick said she has spent the past couple of practices tweaking the Tigers' rotation and she might try a few new things during this weekend's tournament. But she said the key to the Tigers' success is keeping her players focused on the game and getting them to close out games and matches when they get the chance.

"I'm keeping an open mind," Burdick said. "This is a close group of girls, and as long as they believe they can do it, I think they will keep advancing."

Soroco will fill the No. 8 slot and open against Meeker, the tournament's top seed, at 3 p.m. Friday.

The Rams also will take on West Grand at 8:15 a.m. Friday and Plateau Valley at 9:45 a.m. Saturday.

"We are just going to go in and play our game," Soroco coach Betsy Photos said. "We have nothing to lose."

The top two teams from each pool will advance to the championship pool. The top team from Pool A will play the No. 2 team from Pool B, and the top team from Pool B will play the No. 2 team from Pool A.

The winners of those matches will earn automatic berths to the regional tournament the next week.

Photos said the Rams, 5-14 overall, will be an underdog headed into the tournament, and she hopes the team can surprise more than a few opponents en route to a top finish.

"We've come close to beating a lot of the top teams in the league this year," Photos said. "If our girls come out and play like I know they can, we will be very competitive this weekend."

-- To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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