Steamboat volleyball season ends at district tourney

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— The Steamboat Springs volleyball team’s season came to an end Saturday when they lost a couple of hard-fought matches at the District 8 volleyball tournament in Durango.

Steamboat lost in five sets to Montrose and then lost to Western Slope League nemesis Eagle Valley in four.

“We had a tough draw,” Sailors coach Wendy Hall said. “It always is in this district, and I knew when I saw Montrose beat Eagle Valley this morning that we had to play our best. I thought we had our best chance against Montrose because we matched up better against them, height wise.”

The Sailors started strong, winning the first two sets against Montrose with relative ease, 25-18 and 25-11. Senior middles Maggie Stanford and Amy Brodie found plenty of holes in the Montrose defense, recording seven and five kills, respectively, in the first two games.

But Montrose got its middle game going in sets three and four as senior Hunter Schaeffer reeled off five kills to lead the Indians to 25-13 and 25-19 wins. In the tiebreaker, Schaeffer had three more kills, and Montrose emerged with a 15-11 win.

Stanford led Steamboat with 14 kills and 11 blocks in the Montrose match. Brodie finished with seven kills while outside hitters Meghan Rabbitt and Alex Feeley had five kills each.

Immediately after the Montrose match, Steamboat squared off in an elimination match against Eagle Valley, a team that had beaten the Sailors six straight times. A week ago, the Devils dispatched the Sailors in straight sets.

Again, Steamboat played well early and split the first two matches, 26-28 and 26-24. But Eagle Valley’s 6-foot-1 senior hitter Alex Lassa, the league’s reigning MVP and a Rutgers signee, proved too much for the Sailors to handle in sets three and four, which Eagle Valley took, 25-19 and 25-22. Lassa finished with 24 kills.

Stanford led Steamboat with 12 kills and five blocks. Rabbitt and senior opposite hitter Addie Sulentich added six kills each for the Sailors. Brodie had five kills and seven blocks.

“I was really proud of how the girls played,” Hall said. “They fought all day long, and I never felt there was a moment when we were out of it.”

Hall used an all-senior lineup in the final match, which brought an end to the high school careers of nine Sailors: Stanford, Rabbitt, Brodie, Sulentich, Callie Hvambsal, Taylor Loomis, Kailee Duryea, D.J. Ditter and Kaitlyn Espinosa.

“I am so proud of the personal growth I see in these senior girls,” Hall said. “I’m really proud of who they have become on the court but, more importantly, who they are as people off the court.”

Steamboat finished the season with a 12-9 record.

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