Steamboat volleyball scores big win against Rifle

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2012 Sailors volleyball schedule

— The Steamboat Sailors volleyball team has been dealt some serious blows this year. Before the season, senior Nikki Fry was lost for the year because of a knee injury. Then starting libero Alexis Len went down with an elbow injury and also was lost for the season.

On Saturday in Rifle, it looked like things could not get worse for the Sailors when senior captain Alex Feeley, Steamboat's biggest offensive threat, went down with a sprained ankle.

"Alex is not only a key player on offense and in serve-receive, but she also is our emotional leader, as well," Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said. "She is our security blanket on the court."

When Feeley went down in the second set, the Sailors led Rifle, 1-0. The Bears initially took advantage, winning the set, 25-23.

But in set three, the Sailors' young players showed they could win without their senior leader. Freshman Maddie Labor, filling in for Feeley, had four kills. Sophomore libero Carolyn Walters, whom Hall challenged to step up in set two, passed flawlessly and served two aces. Junior middle Mikaila Jegtvig delivered four kills and a block. Junior middle Maggie Crouch had three kills and two blocks. Most importantly, the Sailors won, 25-19.

While her teammates were winning set three, Feeley was getting her ankle taped, setting up her dramatic return in the fourth set.

"There was no way I was sitting," Feeley said. "Once I had it taped, I knew I could go."

Go Feeley did, smacking four big kills that Rifle never had a chance to return. She added a block and an ace, leading Steamboat to a 25-14 win and sealing the emotional match.

Feeley finished with seven kills. Jegtvig had a monster game, finishing with 14 kills, three blocks and two aces. Crouch had eight kills and six blocks, while Gabby Heron also had six kills. Labor had four kills.

The Rifle win, the Sailors' third match in 24 hours, turned around a rough weekend for Steamboat, who lost to Palisade on Friday night and to Delta on Saturday morning.

Beating Rifle "was huge for us," Hall said. "Hopefully, it will give us some momentum so we can finish the season strong."

The Sailors, 8-10 overall and 3-7 in the Western Slope League, have three matches remaining. Steamboat hosts Middle Park on Tuesday.

In the first match of the day, senior middle Callie Gaffords had 12 kills and four blocks to lead Delta past the Sailors 25-11, 25-15, 25-17. Outside hitter Skylyn Webb added eight kills for the Panthers.

Delta improved to 10-8 overall and 5-3 in the Western Slope League.

Steamboat tried three different setters in the match: junior Ellie Becker in the first set, junior Kira Lorenzen in the second and freshman Maritza Wiedel in the third. But no matter the setter, the outcome was similar.

Feeley had nine kills to lead the Sailors. Crouch had four kills and five blocks while Jegtvig had three kills and eight blocks. Heron had four kills.

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