Steamboat Springs sophomore Maddie Labor powers a shot over the net in the first game of Tuesday night's match against Summit.

Photo by John F. Russell

Steamboat Springs sophomore Maddie Labor powers a shot over the net in the first game of Tuesday night's match against Summit.

Steamboat volleyball beats Summit in 3

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— If the first two sets set the stage for the Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team, the third told the story.

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Steamboat Springs senior Maddie Robertson powers a shot over the net in the first game of Tuesday night's match against Summit.

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Steamboat Springs volleyball player Jenna Miller powers a shot over the net in the first game of Tuesday night's match against Summit.

Steamboat, in a near must-win situation, swept Summit on Tuesday in Steamboat, winning, 25-15, 25-11 and 25-21.

Predictably, Steamboat dominated Summit early, a team it beat 3-1 earlier this season.

But coming off a tough stretch — the Sailors had lost three straight league games and four of their last five — the third set could have gone down as a season changer.

“We needed this win,” Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said. “Even if I felt like we were playing well last week.”

Presumably, Steamboat was on its way to a clear-cut three-setter. But that’s when Summit turned things around.

The third set went back and forth until the Tigers took their first lead of the match at 15-14. There was an audible sense of tension on Steamboat’s side, clear signs that the young team was in doubt.

Summit built a 21-17 lead when something happened.

“But that’s the nature of volleyball,” Steamboat senior Maddie Robertson said. “It’s full of ups and downs.”

Steamboat got within 21-18 when the team got a pair of back-to-back blocks that swung the momentum pendulum the Sailors' way.

From there, with a raucous crowd back into it, Robertson had two kills to give Steamboat a 22-21 lead.

Two Summit errors and a Gabby Heron kill later, Steamboat had the win.

Steamboat showed its versatility Tuesday, moving the ball along the net with multiple girls racking up kills.

Maddie Labor and Mikaila Jegtvig each had nine kills. Robertson had seven kills, and Jenna Miller had six kills. Jegtvig had six blocks while Taylor Harrington added four.

“They hit the ball better (Tuesday) than maybe they have all year,” Hall said.

Things now get intriguing for Steamboat. The team plays at 6:30 p.m. Friday at home against Palisade. Steamboat follows it up with a 1 p.m. home game with Delta on Saturday.

Steamboat beat Palisade in three earlier in the year, before falling in five to Delta.

The Sailors (10-5 overall, 4-4 in league play) are fourth in the Western Slope League and need a home sweep this weekend to make their regional bid more solid.

“It’s really important,” Hall said. “Every match is critical. If we want to give ourselves a chance at the regional tournament, I think we have to win out at home. (Tuesday) was the first.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham

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