Steamboat Springs High School junior Adeline Sulentich warms up during practice Wednesday. The Sailors open their season at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 2 against Middle Park at home.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs High School junior Adeline Sulentich warms up during practice Wednesday. The Sailors open their season at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 2 against Middle Park at home.

Steamboat Sailors return 2 volleyball starters

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2010 volleyball schedule

Steamboat Springs High School

Sept. 2 6:30 p.m. vs. Middle Park

Sept. 7 5:30 p.m. at Vail Mountain School

Sept. 9 to 10 TBA at Bishop Machebeuf Tournament

Sept. 17 6:30 p.m. at Delta

Sept. 18 1 p.m. at Palisade

Sept. 23 6:30 p.m. vs. Glenwood Springs

Sept. 30 6:30 p.m. at Moffat County

Oct. 2 TBA vs. Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley

Oct. 5 6 p.m. vs. Palisade

Oct. 8 6:30 p.m. vs. Delta

Oct. 14 6:30 p.m. at Glenwood Springs

Oct. 21 6:30 p.m. vs. Moffat County

Oct. 23 TBA at Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley

Editor's note: This story has been updated from its original version to correct that Maggie Stanford is a junior.

It’s been a while since there’s been this much uncertainty with a Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team.

Gone are 10 starters from last season’s team, including two-time Western Slope Player of the Year Colleen King.

Gone are all the outside hitters and defensive specialists on a close-knit team that advanced to the district playoffs.

“I don’t think many people are looking for us to be in the top three in the league,” veteran Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said. “I certainly think we could be there. I don’t believe in rebuilding years. I feel if feeder programs are doing their job, you should have competitive teams year in and year out.”

Steamboat returns two starters from last season’s team in senior setter Jenna Peters and junior middle blocker Maggie Stanford.

Peters often set last season when King moved to the outside.

And whatever those outside the program might think about the 2010 team’s prospects, it’s hard not to like a junior class that’s played together for years.

“Our grade has always been really competitive, and we work hard,” said Adeline Sulentich, who is one of those juniors expected to compete for a starting spot. “I expect a lot out of us.”

Notably, Steamboat gets back Kaitie Breisch, who sat out last year with a shoulder injury.

Breisch should provide punch on the outside, and with another year in the system, Stanford is capable of an all-league performance.

But maybe the most notable return is that of Peters. Often in the shadows of King last season, Peters nonetheless played an instrumental role in Steamboat’s success.

With a year of varsity experience and learning from one of the state’s best setters in King, Peters is poised for a breakout leadership role.

“It helped a lot,” Peters said about playing with King. “It would have been scary to come in and play varsity for the first time this year. I feel a lot different. I don’t know if it’s because I’m in the leadership role or just working on my ability, but I feel a lot better.”

Where Steamboat finishes in league play is another matter.

Eagle Valley should be the top team, returning a slew of players that someday will dot college rosters.

From there, though, it’s at best a guess of where teams will slot in.

Hall said with the Sailors’ inexperience and blending of new players, it could take some time to figure out where everything — and everyone — fits.

But the proposition of molding a new crew into a contender brings a smile to Hall’s face.

“It’s been a while since I’ve had this kind of depth and choices to make,” Hall said.

“I think it’s going to be a fun group to watch. It’s fun to see the tides turn. It’s a new generation of athletes in this program.”

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