Steamboat Springs High School senior Maggie Stanford goes up for a kill during a 2009 match against Glenwood Springs High School. Stanford returns to the squad this year along with most of the 2010 team. Coach Wendy Hall hopes the team will be in the running for a league title.

File photo

Steamboat Springs High School senior Maggie Stanford goes up for a kill during a 2009 match against Glenwood Springs High School. Stanford returns to the squad this year along with most of the 2010 team. Coach Wendy Hall hopes the team will be in the running for a league title.

Steamboat volleyball starts season Thursday

Sailors squad returns pair of 1st-team, all-league selections for 2012

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— The 2010 edition of the Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team was tough to figure out. 

One week, the team looked great, cruising past opponents at a rapid pace. The next, it was the opposite as the Sailors couldn’t find any sort of consistency on the court. 

The end result was a 9-9 finish and a loss in the district tournament. 

To that point, Steamboat had breezed past Palmer Ridge early in the tournament. Later, in a one-game playoff, Steamboat couldn’t compete with Palmer Ridge. 

But with virtually the same team intact, and an injury-depleted roster healthy for a new season, the Sailors volleyball program looks to be on the rise.   

“There are options with this lineup,” Sailors coach Wendy Hall said. “We have girls that are very versatile. It makes it more fun for me because I have more options. But that’s also why it’s going to take a couple of weeks to figure it out.”

At the forefront, Steamboat returns a pair of first-team, all-league selections. 

Senior hitter Maggie Stanford and senior libero Kailee Duryea return to the lineup and should lead a deep attack. 

The Sailors also will get seniors Amy Brodie and Meghan Rabbitt back from injury. Add in Alex Feeley, Nikki Fry and Taylor Loomis, and it’s easy to see the team’s versatile lineup options. 

Senior Addie Sulentich, who saw plenty of playing time last year, also should return at some point from shoulder surgery. 

“We’re focused on that ultimate state experience,” said Duryea, who went from afterthought to best defensive player in the league last year. “I don’t have any doubts about our team and what we can set our minds to.” 

Finding consistency, however, starts with cutting down on unforced errors. Many times last season, Steamboat would seemingly have the momentum before errors would instantly get the other team back in the game. 

With a league expected to be wide open — early favorites include Eagle Valley and Palisade — Steamboat has a chance to be in the mix. 

Should the Sailors find a way to be more consistent, it’s not out of the question they could nudge their way into the top of the standings. 

“I think we get through the tournament next weekend and we can set some goals,” Hall said, referring to the Sept. 9 and 10 Bishop Machebeuf Tournament. “I’d like to be in the conversation for a league title. I think they should be in the conversation.”

The Sailors open their season at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Middle Park.

— To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com 

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