Steamboat Springs The Hayden volleyball team is off to its best start in years after getting its fourth win in as many matches Wednesday.
Hayden defeated Western Slope League newcomer Coal Ridge, 19-25, 25-15, 25-23, 27-25, in the new Silt high school.
Because Coal Ridge is a new school, Tigers coach Becky Burdick knew little about the Titans. The Hayden players, however, may have gotten an incorrect scouting report through word of mouth. Consequently, Hayden came out flat.
"They aren't a bad team at all," Burdick said. "My girls went in with a different mindset. (Coal Ridge) held its own. In a few years, they will be really good."
But this year, the Tigers (5-2 overall, 2-0 in league play) haven't let slow starts keep them from winning games.
On Wednesday, Hayden's defense helped the Tigers to a win. Senior Sara Sumerlin had 10 digs, and sophomore Jacquelyn Denker had six digs.
Offensively, Sumerlin led the way with nine kills, but senior setter Mariah Doolin once again distributed the ball well. Junior Emily Whiteman had four kills, and junior Jessica Martin, senior Chelsea Fry and Doolin each had three kills. Junior Katy Koehler added two kills.
"Every game we are going to try something new and experiment with different plans on the court," Burdick said about the offense.
Up next for Hayden is a 5 p.m. match against Little Snake River out of Baggs, Wyo., tonight in Hayden. The junior varsity teams start things off at 4 p.m.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org