Soroco, Hayden volleyball teams battle for early surge

Soroco and Hayden volleyball clash at 6:30 p.m. today

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— Plenty of season remains, of course. Come October’s season-defining tournaments, whether one weekend in September went great or was miserable may not even matter.

But as early season stretches in high school volleyball go, this could be a big one for several local teams.

“The pressure is on,” Hayden coach Holli Palmer said, considering a trio of important games that lay in front of her Tigers.

Hayden may have the most at stake, starting with a 6:30 p.m. home showing Friday against a cross-county rival, high-flying Soroco.

The 4-2 Rams enter the game coming off two gritty wins, five-set match victories against Meeker and North Park.

Hayden, meanwhile, hasn’t won since an opening-night victory against Rifle, dropping matches to Meeker in straight games and to Moffat County.

Coupled with a pair of Saturday home matches against league opponents — the Tigers will begin play at 9 a.m. in a triangular, first against North Park and in the afternoon against Paonia — Friday and Saturday could define Hayden’s early season.

“There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle, and we’re hoping they all fit together for us,” Palmer said. “Teams know we have strong middles, so they’ve keyed in on that, and we’ve been blocked a couple times. We need to work on our mental toughness, push through and make smarter plays, not just hitting into that block.

“Our defense is doing great, but it’s a matter of putting the ball down on the other side.”

Soroco, playing just once this weekend, doesn’t plan on making those adjustments easy. In fact, the Rams are eyeing Friday’s matchup as fuel for their own early season surge.

“We’re coming off two wins, but beating Hayden would bring up the confidence that much more,” Soroco coach Kim Reeves said. “They block well in the middle. We know that for sure, and we’ll game plan for it, but we’re more focused on our game right now than theirs. As long as we play our game, we should come out on top.”

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