Volleyball drains Glenwood

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— Maggie Kriz hadn't had a kill the entire game.

But when it mattered most for the Steamboat Springs volleyball team, the Sailors' middle blocker came through, turning the momentum against Glenwood Springs on Thursday night in Steamboat.

Up one game, but down 19-24 in game two, Kriz - with clutch help at the net from Natalie Nichols and solid serving from Lisa Floyd - had two blocks and three kills in Steamboat's seven-point rally for a comeback game victory. With the tide of momentum turned, Steamboat breezed through game three and won the match (25-22, 26-24, 25-14).

"If that second game had gone the other way, I'm convinced it would have been a five-game battle," Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said. "It showed incredible determination on our part to not go down."

In the teams' last meeting Sept. 20, Steamboat narrowly escaped from Glenwood (9-7 overall, 5-6 in Western Slope League) with a victory in five close games.

After game one Thursday, another classic battle looked to be shaping up.

"It was point-for-point as usual," Glenwood coach Scott Nykerk said of the first game, which featured 11 ties.

Steamboat jumped to a 12-8 lead, but Glenwood tied things at 13 behind solid play at the net from Kelsie Hert. Steamboat made just enough plays at the net down the stretch to pull away from a 22-22 deadlock with a trio of Steamboat kills, the final one smashed by Katy Gary.

Glenwood demonstrated its most balanced offense in game two, playing "focused from antenna to antenna," Nykerk said. The Demons out-hit the Sailors 13-8 with all six players from its starting rotation contributing kills. But Glenwood just couldn't finish that crucial game point.

"That last point we have trouble siding out of," said Demons middle blocker Toni Gottschalck, who led her team with seven kills. "But I'm proud of us; I think we played hard."

Steamboat jumped to a 10-2 lead in the final game with the help of five early Glenwood errors. With a few nice serves from Hert, who also notched five of her team-leading 12 blocks in the third game, Glenwood fought back to 22-13. Steamboat answered with its most polished offense of the match, with four kills from Heidi Lord and three more from Gary's team-leading collection of 10.

Steamboat moves to 12-4 overall and 8-3 in league as it heads into its final home game of the regular season at 1 p.m. Saturday against Rifle.

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