Photo by Joel Reichenberger
Tatum Lombardi tries to tip a ball back to the Paonia side of the net Saturday as the Rams played the Eagles. Soroco lost the match despite winning the first game. The Rams are now 0-2 on the season.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Steamboat Springs The Soroco High School girls volleyball team emerged from Thursday's three-game loss to West Grand positively excited about the way it had played and all the improvement it had shown since a miserable weekend tournament.
So when the same squad took Paonia to four games Saturday in Oak Creek, looking flat-out good in the game it won and in another it lost, it might have seemed easy to guess the Rams' emotions afterward.
"It's pretty disappointing," Soroco coach Kim Reeves said. "I know these girls can get past it, but they have a big obstacle to overcome because Soroco volleyball has always had the mindset that 'We're not good enough.'
"These girls are good enough, and they need to learn to rely on each other."
Soroco fell to Paonia in four games, 21-25, 25-12, 25-15, 25-20. At times, the Eagles wiped the floor with the Rams, most notably in the match's middle two games.
And at other times, Soroco proved more than a match for the visitors. The Rams were good in the first game. Not one-player good, not good serving or just good on the blocks - they were good from top to bottom.
"Everyone played loose. We were having fun, and everything was working," senior Tatum Lombardi said. "Everyone was talking in that first game. We were unstoppable."
The Rams jumped to a 7-2 lead and held the Eagles at arms distance before surging again to go up 20-14.
Senior Sarajane Rossi slammed down five kills. Senior Darcey Wisecup played well in her first game back from a summer injury. Junior Katie Grett dug out several tough balls and Lombardi set up powerful swings for nearly everyone on the team.
All that made it only more frustrating when Paonia took a 14-4 lead early in the next game.
Soroco didn't challenge the Eagles at all in the second game and didn't do much better in the third, falling behind 18-9.
Paonia relied on senior Brittani Venard, who finished the night with 14 kills. The Eagles kept Soroco guessing and delivered more than enough powerful kills and on-target serves.
"We made a few defensive adjustments after the first game," Paonia coach Allen Golden said. "Soroco was doing a really good job hitting it to the corners, so we covered them better."
Then, as quickly as Soroco's ability to contend had vanished, it reappeared in the fourth game. The Rams went up, 5-1, and hung close all the way until the teams were tied at 20.
The stats show the difference between Soroco's styles. The Rams had 21 kills in the first and fourth game and just 11 in the second and third.
Still, Lombardi said she was convinced that the difference went far deeper than the stat sheet.
"We got down in a couple parts of the match. Once one person on our team gets down, everyone seems to get down," she said. "All the seniors, we try to be supportive, but it's hard. It's the same thing that keeps happening."