Steamboat Springs With cries of "our house" as they broke off a huddle before their Friday volleyball match with Hayden, the Soroco Rams came out on fire, catching the Tigers off guard in their first game. But the Rams could not sustain the intensity, losing the match in four games, 19-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-19, by finding out what the Little Snake River Rattlers did on Tuesday - that the Tigers can come alive on the road.
"In the first game, I didn't think we were ready to play," said Hayden's Katy Koehler. "Every game seems like we come out slow and take a while to warm up."
After jumping out to an, 8-1, lead on a pair of kills from Emily Hallenbeck in game one, the Tigers struggled to get their passing game going. Mounting a brief comeback with two kills from Emily Whiteman and a block and a serving ace from Holli Salazar, the Tigers brought it as close as 22-18. Sarajane Rossi's third kill of the game and a Hayden passing error sealed the first game in a, 25-19, Soroco victory.
In game two, the Tigers slowly pulled away from what started as a close game with more controlled passing from Lauren Frentress and Jessica Martin and setting from Whiteman, Kylee Sweetser and Lacey Doolin to find the seams in the Rams' defense. The Rams sparked a late offensive burst from Amanda Wilson and Rossi, but it was not enough to stop Doolin's third and final kill of the game, one that silenced the Rams' fans and ended the game, 25-18.
Hayden continued to bring a balanced offense in game three with great net play and blocks from Whiteman, and a series of Soroco mental mistakes gave way to a, 17-10, Hayden lead. With a Hallenbeck block and a Gina Werremeyer kill, the Rams started feeling the hometown momentum, but continually gave it up on missed serves and passes, resulting in a, 21-25, Hayden win.
"We played as a team and finally with our hearts," Hallenbeck said, pointing out the Rams' desire to win in the absence of their head coach, Betsy Photos.
This desire to win magnified the Rams' disappointment in dropping the fourth, deciding game that Hallenbeck described as an even back-and-forth game where Soroco had a series of quality digs, but was unable to broach the taller, Hayden middle blocking core.
"It wasn't great, but we fought through and finished the deal," Koehler said of the win that puts the Tigers at 9-4 overall, 4-1 in league.