Steamboat's Nikki Fry, left, and Amy Brodie reach for a block Saturday as the Sailors battled Palisade. Steamboat lost the match, falling in three games.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Steamboat's Nikki Fry, left, and Amy Brodie reach for a block Saturday as the Sailors battled Palisade. Steamboat lost the match, falling in three games.

Steamboat volleyball drops league game, 3-0

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— Come Saturday afternoon, the Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team hadn’t lost the feeling of Friday night’s huge comeback win against Delta.

It had, however, lost the composure that made that win possible.

Steamboat couldn’t hang with Palisade in the pressure-packed moments of a Saturday match that could have lifted the squad into the Western Slope League driver’s seat.

Palisade was bigger, stronger and simply better when it mattered most, winning in three games, 25-18, 25-15, 25-20.

“We didn’t have the fire we needed from point No. 1,” Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said. “We had a good game plan, and we did not execute it.”

Steamboat had its moments. The first half of each of the first two games was dead even, and the Sailors even pulled away a few points early in the third.

Palisade didn’t flinch, and when those Bulldogs barked, Steamboat lost its bite. Palisade scored nine of the final 12 points in the first game, blowing open a close 16-15 affair. It took 14 of the final 19 in the second game, breaking free from an 11-all tie. Finally, it took eight of the last nine in the third game to catch, pass and finally beat Steamboat in the third game.

“I don’t think that was them. It was us,” Steamboat senior Meghan Rabbitt said about the late-game collapses. Friday night “we were extremely happy, but losing takes some of that away. Everyone in the locker room wasn’t happy with how we played.”

At its best, Steamboat dealt well with a pack of tall and talented hitters. Still, the Sailors weren’t at their best often enough.

Maggie Stanford led the team with eight kills, and Rabbitt had five. But the team finished with just four blocks and lost seven points to serve receive errors.

By comparison, Steamboat didn’t register a single such error Friday night.

Palisade definitely had a lot to do with that. The Bulldogs are in position to win the Western Slope League and, with a senior-laden lineup, could make some serious noise in the playoffs. That all showed Saturday.

“They were scrappy, worked to pick up everything and got their big hitters the ball,” Rabbitt said.

It wasn’t Steamboat’s best game, and afterward it wasn’t the missed opportunities or the weekend split that hurt the most: It was the fact the Sailors, now 10-4 and 5-3, felt they could have played better.

“Even if we’d have lost with a good effort, I’d feel better, but I don’t feel good about the way we lost,” Hall said. “The only thing we know how to do is get back in the gym and get back to working hard.”

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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