Palisade tops Steamboat Springs volleyball

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Volleyball: Steamboat at Palisade

Highlights of the volleyball match between Steamboat Springs High School and Palisade High School on Sept. 17, 2011.

Highlights of the volleyball match between Steamboat Springs High School and Palisade High School on Sept. 17, 2011.

Palisade’s Audrey Steinkirchner had 20 kills and 4 blocks to lead the Lady Bulldogs to a 3-1 win against the Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team Saturday in Palisade.

Steinkirchner, who was the co-MVP of the Western Slope League last year with Eagle Valley’s Alex Lassa, rallied her team back from a 28-26 loss in the first set to the Sailors. The 6-foot-2 senior delivered a series of thundering kills in the second set en route to a 25-16 win. The Bulldogs never looked back, taking the third and fourth sets, 25-18 and 25-13.

“We came out complacent in Game 1,” Steinkirchner said. “We didn’t really do anything different after the first game. We just got motivated and played a lot better.”

The win keeps the Bulldogs, who entered the season as a favorite in the Western Slope League with five returning starters, atop the WSL with a 2-0 record in league play and 7-2 overall.

For Steamboat coach Wendy Hall, Saturday’s match was a setback. She said her team came out strong but lost confidence after the first set. It was a stark turnaround from Friday night, when the Sailors battled back from a two-set deficit to win three straight and beat Delta. In that match, the Sailors trailed, 9-1, in the tiebreaker before battling back to tie the set at 11 and then fought off match point before prevailing, 16-14.

On Saturday, the Sailors (6-3 overall, 1-1 WSL) went toe-to-toe with Palisade in the first set and prevailed, 28-26. But the Sailors couldn’t match that intensity the rest of the way.

“What happened to us (after set 1)? That’s the million-dollar question,” Hall said. “The girls started to play like they didn’t think they could beat them.”

Hall said that Palisade is a team that’s got big power on the front line and that Steinkirchner is a great player.

“What (the Steamboat players) have to learn is that she is going to get her knockdowns,” Hall said. “We can’t worry about that. What we have to do is battle back and use our offense to keep the ball away from her as much as possible. We did that in the first game.

“We still have a lot to learn. Everyone has to work on their game.”

Maggie Stanford led the Sailors with nine kills and six blocks Saturday. Meghan Rabbitt had seven kills for the Sailors, while Amy Brodie had five kills and five blocks.

Besides Steinkirchner, Mecia Dearth had nine kills and Savannah Hanson had seven for Palisade.

Steamboat plays again Thursday at Glenwood Springs.

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