Steamboat Springs The frustration experienced by Soroco High School's volleyball team Thursday night was exemplified during a sequence midway through the third game of the Rams' season-opening loss to West Grand.
With her team trailing by three points, senior Sarajane Rossi cut the deficit to two with a powerful kill, pounding a ball to the floor in the middle of the West Grand zone.
But the Rams gave that momentum right back moments later, mishandling a ball and losing the point when it was bumped into the net.
Soroco had its moments Thursday playing at home, but the mistakes were too many, and the Rams fell in three games, 25-19, 25-16, 25-18.
"We played scrappy, and I'm proud of how the girls played," Soroco coach Kim Reeves said. "We played with confidence. West Grand is a tough team, but we stepped it up some tonight."
The enthusiasm stems from the team's improvement from a preseason tournament the squad attended last weekend, Reeves said.
The Rams passed well throughout the evening and for stretches matched up well against an experienced and tall West Grand squad.
Soroco ran off six consecutive points late in the first game, rallied from a 7-1 deficit in the second game and was within two points several times in the third game.
Ceanna Rossi sparked a run with a kill in the third game and Katie Grett followed it up with solid serving as the Rams drew within a point in the early going.
Sarajane Rossi, meanwhile, was powerful throughout, leading the team with 11 kills.
"We were able to do some of the things we wanted to," senior Katrina Maes said. "We were a little better than this weekend. Our passing was better."
Still, it wasn't enough. West Grand dictated the flow of play, often shuffling the ball to senior Danette Billington, who led the team in kills.
Now 5-1 on the season, the Mustangs battled with a senior-laden roster. While Soroco hung around early in a game or rallied late, West Grand never had to sweat.
"We had good ball control tonight," Mustangs coach Laura Gore said. "We were passing better than we have been, and our hitters were on."
Even when Billington couldn't get a crack, Soroco wasn't consistent enough to take advantage, often following several big points up with serves into the net.
That may go a long way toward summing up the night, Reeves said. The Rams couldn't capitalize on momentum and lost in three games, but afterward, they weren't exactly torn up about it.
"The missed serves, those were aggressive mistakes," Reeves said. "We were giving our girls places to serve, and they were really trying to stick with that. It's frustrating for everyone, but those were some acceptable mistakes.
"The girls really played well."