Friday, September 14, 2007
Steamboat Springs The last time the Battle Mountain girls volleyball team visited Steamboat Springs, they rolled over the Sailors, outscoring them, 75-31, in an emotional final home game last year.
Thursday night, Steamboat was hoping momentum from a big win at Moffat County last week would translate to another victory when Battle Mountain (5-1 overall, 2-0 in the league) returned to the Sailors' home court.
It didn't happen.
Led by 18 kills from Devon Abbott, Battle Mountain beat Steamboat in three games, 25-15, 25-18, 25-23. Last year's state champion, Battle Mountain again had its unmistakable offensive swagger and consistency at the net.
"We were lucky to get out of here in three," Huskies coach Brian Doyon said of a match that was closer than comfortable.
Game three not only featured the longest rallies, best play and fewest errors from both teams, it also provided the definitive moment of the Huskies' victory.
Tied at 21, Huskies hitter Kori Landauer slammed into teammate Annalisa Padget and collapsed on the floor. Choking back tears, Landauer stayed on the floor. On the next serve, she slipped a ball past the Sailors to establish a lead her team held onto for the win.
"It was in our minds - we got frazzled, took a breath, said that we needed to finish this one, we got the pass and did it," Huskies setter Alexa Corcoran said.
Steamboat didn't fold, though. Down 24-21, they fought back for two points, clearly gaining the momentum. The sizable home crowd exploded with cheers after a Huskies' hit apparently went wide to tie the game. But the referee silenced the cheers and ended the game, scoring the point for Battle Mountain by citing a Steamboat touch.
"We don't want to be one bad call away from losing, we want to be one bad call away from recovering," Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said. "Ultimately, that's our fault."
Hall noted the performances of Maggie Kriz, who showed discipline in blocking Battle Mountain's top hitters, and Colleen King, whose blocks and trio of kills in the third game helped keep Steamboat in the hunt. Kriz and Heidi Lord led Steamboat, each with four kills.
"It was mostly our mental game that was off," Lord said. "We might get down and then it snowballs, or even the times where we were dead-even for like 10 points and all of sudden mess up once and we fall apart. Even though they won in three again, our attitudes are much better and Battle Mountain is now touchable."
Steamboat (5-2 overall, 1-1 in league) plays at Eagle Valley at 1 p.m. Saturday.