Steamboat volleyball falls to Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley

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— The roller coaster ride continues for the Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team.

Just two days after playing its best volleyball of the season in a three-game sweep of Moffat County on Thursday, Steam­boat lost a pair of games on the road Saturday to two teams on opposite ends of the Western Slope League.

Steamboat lost 17-25, 25-23, 25-15 and 25-15 to last-place Battle Mountain, before falling to league champion Eagle Valley 30-28, 25-16 and 25-12.

With the two losses, Steamboat wraps up the regular season, 9-9 overall and 5-7 in the league. The Sailors are the No. 4 seed out of the league and will return to Eagle Valley on Oct. 30 for the district tournament.

“The way we play at this time of year contributes to our confidence and how we feel going into a district tournament,” Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said. “The last match you play before you head into a season-ending tournament you want to play well. I think we should be pretty disappointed right now with how we performed.”

Things, however, started well for Steamboat.

The Sailors took the opening game from the Huskies despite not playing their best. But from there Battle Mountain — who had nothing to play for because it wouldn’t make the playoffs — started to get into a groove, and Steamboat went flat.

The Huskies swept the last three games for what amounts to one of the Sailors’ worst losses of the season.

“I just didn’t feel like we fought,” Hall said. “Here’s Battle Mountain playing the last day of their season, just playing for pride. They had a lot more pride than we did. It’s that simple.”

Against Eagle Valley, Steam­­­boat opened the first game like the team would respond well to the disappointment of the early match.

The Sailors were on game point three times in the first game but never could produce. From there, Eagle Valley proved why it won the league and should be considered a contender for a state title run.

“That was the killer,” Hall said. “We had three chances to win that set, and we flubbed all three of them.”

The Devils pounded the Sailors in the last two games, easily winning.

Steamboat now has to try to regroup before district playoffs begin next weekend. The district tournament is broken into two three-team pools. The top two teams from each pool advance, with the No. 1 team from the first pool playing the No. 2 team from the other pool and vice versa. Hall won’t be sure which teams are in Steamboat’s pool until early this week.

Searching for a silver lining from Saturday, the good news was that Steamboat didn’t finish third in the league. Finishing third would have meant traveling to Durango for districts.

Still, that didn’t mean much to Hall.

“This is a big step backwards after Thursday,” she said. “I’m definitely a little concerned going into districts. After Thursday, I felt as confident as I’ve felt all year.”

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