Steamboat Springs High School juniors Mikaila Jegtvig, right, and Ellie Becker go up for a block during Tuesday night's game against Battle Mountain High School.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs High School juniors Mikaila Jegtvig, right, and Ellie Becker go up for a block during Tuesday night's game against Battle Mountain High School.

Steamboat Springs volleyball team struggles in 3-game loss to Battle Mountain

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Steamboat Springs High School senior Alex Feeley spikes the ball during Tuesday night's game against Battle Mountain High School. The Sailors lost in three games.

2012 Sailors volleyball schedule

— Battle Mountain coach Jason Fitzgerald wasn’t sure what was up.

Pressed on why his team had lost five straight — three in five games and two in straight sets — the coach simply shrugged his shoulders.

To him, there wasn’t a great explanation.

“We just couldn’t get chemistry, couldn’t get our emotions right,” he said. “Something happened between Sunday and now. I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what movie they watched together. I don’t know what happened.”

Whatever happened, the result was a dominant 3-0 win against Steamboat. Battle Mountain got the ball to outside hitters LaRose Currie and Mackenzie Ellison, and the rest seemed to take care of itself. The Huskies won, 25-19, 25-21 and 25-10.

The Huskies didn’t look like a team that lost five in a row, including four against Western Slope League competition. Instead, thanks in large part to a versatile offense and the big swings of LaRose and Ellison, the Huskies looked the part of one of the top teams in the league.

“I’ve thought we match up well,” Fitzgerald said. “But on any given night in this league, it’s tough. We’ve proven that because we’ve dropped four straight league games. But I think we’re in that hunt too.”

Initially, the two teams battled through the first two games, the Huskies finding the right moments for big plays.

The two teams shared leads at 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 in the second game before Battle Mountain started to impose its will.

“If there is any stat that should have shined tonight, it’s blocking,” said Steamboat coach Wendy Hall, whose team registered just two blocks. As many times as they took hard swings, I don’t think we made good reads. I think we were a step behind, and I think we got intimidated. Blockers have to be fierce.”

Steamboat had all but packed it in by the third set. Battle Mountain continued to feed LaRose and Ellison.

Each finished with 13 kills, while LaRose added 17 digs.

Alex Feeley led Steamboat with 11 kills, but the next closest Sailors player had just three.

The Sailors also had just 21 kills on 79 swings to go along with 18 hitting errors.

Now the race in the league officially is on.

Steamboat dropped to 7-7 overall and 3-4 in league play. The Sailors are in fourth in a league that might get just three district spots.

Battle Mountain improved to 4-6 and 2-4.

“I think when we’re in situations like that, your competitive nature has to rise up to that,” Hall said. “We didn’t do that, and it’s that simple. I can’t have one or two fighting and the rest scared to death.”

Battle Mountain next plays at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at home against Summit. Steamboat plays at 3 p.m. Saturday against Summit.

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

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