Hard luck Sailors

Tough draw, errors down Steamboat's regional hopes


Sometimes familiarity can be a bad thing.

In a district tournament that set up well for the Sailors to advance to the regional tournament, it turned out to be two league teams and a brutal schedule that squashed the Sailors' hopes of advancing. Delta dealt the Sailors a 25-17, 15-25, 25-20, 26-24 loss early Saturday morning.

Then the second-ranked Battle Mountain Huskies downed the Sailors, 25-11, 25-17, 25-19. In between those games, Steamboat beat Rock Canyon in four games, 25-21, 17-25, 25-16, 25-17.

Steamboat was the only team of the six at the district tournament that had to play three games in a row. All of the other teams had at least an hour break between one of their games.

In Steamboat's first game of the day against Delta - a team they split games with in the regular season - the Sailors proved to be their own worst enemy.

In all three of the games they lost to the Panthers, the Sailors struggled with hitting and passing errors. Despite their struggles, the Sailors still had a chance to win.

After falling behind early in the third game, the Sailors came back and knotted the score at 20 before consecutive passing errors and two questionable official calls ultimately gave Delta a 25-20 win.

In an eerily similar fourth game, the Sailors fell behind early because of errors but battled back from a 20-12 deficit and took their first lead of the game at 23-22.

But after a service error made it 24-24, Steamboat couldn't stop Delta, leaving the Panthers with the game and the match.

"I think it's unfortunate that we had to play back to back to back," Steamboat head coach Wendy Hall said. "I think there was a little advantage for Delta to have a game under their belts before they played us. We started a little tight, but the bottom line was Delta played better than us, and that was the one we had to have. That was the critical one."

Against Rock Canyon, the Sailors continued to struggle with errors in the first two games. The team was then able to turn it around. Led by the strong attacks of Erin Gleason, Katy Gary and Heidi Lord, the Sailors outscored the Jaguars 50-33 in the last two games.

With the Sailors 1-1 in pool play, they moved on to the semifinals to face No. 2 Battle Mountain, which entered the game with a 20-1 record. The Huskies' only loss came against Doherty - last year's Class 5A state runner-up.

Even with the Sailors' bleak hopes of making regionals, they came out and competed with the Huskies early.

Steamboat held leads in the early parts of the first two games and battled the Huskies to a 25-17 loss in the second game. The 17 points scored on the Huskies was the most by any team at the district tournament.

"For sure the second game was the best we've ever played them," Hall said. "I think we only scored three points off of our own serve and the rest was all side-outs : our offense stepped up in that game."

For seniors Haley Morris, Shannon King and Gleason, it was the last volleyball games they'd play as Sailors.

Hall said she has many good memories with the seniors and that they will be missed. In a year that didn't go exactly as how the Sailors planned, Hall said she was still pleased with the effort.

"It's been a few too many errors all season," Hall said. "That's been our nemesis. But the thing I'm proud of for these kids is they fought all day. I never saw a look on anyone's face that said 'We're done' or 'I don't care.' That feels good, knowing they didn't want it to end today, and I thought they fought and fought hard."

Battle Mountain won the district, and Moffat County took second.

Both teams advance to regional play, with Battle Mountain most likely to host one of the four regions.


Makesmeralph 10 years, 5 months ago

Ummm...It doesn't say what sport this is until almost the last paragraph.


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