Steamboat Springs Friday's disappointing, three-game loss to Palisade looked to derail the Sailors as they returned to the court on Saturday in their match against Delta. After a lackadaisical and sloppy warm-up led to close back-to-back losses in their first two games, Steamboat Springs coach Wendy Hall said she was at the breaking point of frustration, until something intangible happened to her team in game three.
"I saw six singles out there on their own agenda," Hall said. "Nothing I said switched them around, it was something they had to figure it our on their own."
Trailing for most of the third game, Steamboat's Lizzie Stoll tied the score with an emphatic kills at 18-18, and then again at 19-19. With a key block from Heidi Lord and a pair of Katy Gary kills, Steamboat took the third game and with it the necessary momentum to allow them to win the match in five games, 23-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-22, 15-8.
"All of a sudden, we got a spark, got excited and started to smile," Stoll said. "We started getting our hits and coming together finally."
What the Sailors had to recover from was a tough Friday loss to Palisade, 25-16, 25-13, 25-21, in which Hall said the Sailors played too much defense and made countless passing errors.
"We gave up early mistakes, that we couldn't brush off," Stoll said. "There was a big crowd and our confidence went as we kept watching people get up to leave one by one."
Steamboat came out Satur-day still reeling on their heels in their first game against Delta.
"In first two games, our D was too far back and we weren't reading players well," Lord said of the Sailors early troubles blocking the Panthers hitting tandem of Heather Rux and Cami Miller, who combined for 35 kills and 9 blocks in the match.
After the game three about face, Steamboat gave up the early lead in game four, but again regained it after an 18-18 tie on a series of Panther miscues, sealing the win with another Gary kill on the 25-22 game point.
The game five tie-breaker was a dominant display of a balanced Sailors offense between Gary and Stoll, who lead the Sailors in kills, finishing with 19 and 16, respectively, followed by Natalie Nichols with eight, Lord with seven, and Erin Gleason with four along with six blocks.
Hall also noted the staggering 51 assists notched by setter Shannon King and the Sailors' tremendous serving, with three aces from Gary and perfect serving from Stoll and Kacey Bull.
Now 3-1 in league, Hall hopes that the victory can be turning point, having found their missing internal ingredient, as they head into their next match, 6:30 p.m., Tuesday at Moffat County.
- To reach Dave Shively, call 871-4253 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org