Sailors volleyball prepares for defending champion Huskies

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— It's not hard to imagine what a victory at Battle Mountain would do for the rejuvenated Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team.

Battle Mountain's Huskies have been the class of the Western Slope League for the past year and a half, rolling through opponents - in the league and statewide - at an alarming pace.

Their lone loss this year was to a Class 5A opponent, and the Huskies haven't lost a single game to a Class 4A team this season.

Still, if there's a team that can go into Battle Mountain and get a win, it might just be Steamboat Springs, today at 6:30 p.m. at Battle Mountain High School.

Steamboat is currently tied with Moffat County for second place in the league with a 6-2 record. The Sailors have won four of their past five matches and are coming off what might have been their best match of the year, a dominating, four-game win against Delta on Saturday.

"It is big," Sailors coach Wendy Hall said Wednesday. "It's important that we play well. It would be great to feel like we competed with one of the better teams in 4A. It's a great opportunity to test ourselves."

In the two teams' first contest of the year, Battle Mountain won in three games - 25-15, 25-18 and 25-23.

While Battle Mountain won the match, the third game might have given Steamboat a competitive edge in today's contest, because the Sailors know they can compete with the defending state champions.

Steamboat had opportunities to win, tying the score at 21 in the third game before Battle Mountain sealed up the victory.

"We were lucky to get out of here in three," Huskies coach Brian Doyon said after the Sept. 13 match.

Although Hall knows it will be tough to beat the fifth-ranked Huskies, she also knows it isn't impossible.

Hall said to slow down the Battle Mountain juggernaut, her team will have to limit its errors and stop the Huskies' Devon Abbott.

In the Sept. 13 game, Abbott finished with 18 kills.

"I think we can absolutely play with them," Hall said. "We'll have to play very well defensively, offensively and serving wise. Our ball control has to be good - every facet has to be good."

Steamboat also plays against Eagle Valley on Friday at home.

Hall said all of the Sailors' games from here on out are important, as the team is playing for regional seeding.

"The league is really pretty tight this year," Hall said. "That's good. You want the league to be competitive : I think with Eagle Valley, with it being at home, we need to win the ones we're supposed to."

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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