Soroco's Jessica Rossi tries to tip the ball over the net in the face of a West Grand defender on Thursday. The Rams played well at times, but it wasn't enough as they lost in four games.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Soroco's Jessica Rossi tries to tip the ball over the net in the face of a West Grand defender on Thursday. The Rams played well at times, but it wasn't enough as they lost in four games.

Strong start can't net Soroco 1st win of season

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— Soroco played with aggressiveness in the first game of Thursday night’s home match against West Grand.

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Soroco's Emilee Tritz reaches for a block Thursday against West Grand.

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Soroco's Jacey Schlegel braces for a block Thursday against West Grand.

2013 Rams volleyball schedule

Rams’ junior Jessica Rossi and her teammates drove the ball hard over the net, and the team came together to put up timely, powerful blocks and to dive time and time again to save errant balls.

Soroco won that game handily, 25-12.

The Rams also played with aggressiveness in the next three games, but few of the components from that first game remained. Despite a strong start, the Rams fell Thursday to West Grand, 12-25, 25-17, 25-12, 25-19.

The loss dropped the squad to 0-7 on the season.

“We see great things,” first-year coach Jeannie Jo Logan said. “It just hasn’t come together yet.”

Soroco didn’t look like a team still looking for its first win in that first game. Rossi helped dominate at the net, getting big help from Jacey Schlegel, Cala McCollum, Belle Horn, Kellen Garrity and Emilee Tritz with libero Hayley Johnson backing them up on defense.

When they scored, they celebrated, roaring for every point with such enthusiasm it stood out even in the cheer-every-point world of high school volleyball.

The Rams got up 15-7, then pushed it to 22-10 thanks to a pair of blocks. Tritz scored to make it 23-11, and a Mustang kill attempt flew long to give Soroco the game.

“We know how to play volleyball, and we were playing it in that first game,” Rossi said. “We were all playing with confidence. When I looked at my teammates, I didn’t see fear in any of their faces. We were just playing our game.”

That was as good as it got.

The Rams had a few more big moments. They pieced together a nice rally in the second game, but couldn’t make up a deficit that stretched to double digits. Soroco also played well to start the fourth and final game, leading 11-3 at one point. West Grand reeled off seven consecutive points to close things up again, and it was all within several points until the Mustangs found one final rally to pull away.

In the times in between those stretches, the Rams simply struggled — struggled to generate power on kills, struggled to get blocks and struggled mightily to handle serves.

“More than anything, it’s the girls cutting themselves short,” Logan said. “It’s the girls just standing and watching, not moving with the ball. It’s a lack of mental focus.”

Still, Soroco did manage to pull something from the night. It didn’t manage to win a game in either of its last two losses. Winning one Thursday wasn’t the kind of victory the Rams wanted, but it was progress.

The team is back in action Saturday against Paonia.

“It never feels good to lose,” Rossi said, “but we were getting somewhere (Thursday).

“It’s not going to take us a month to turn it around. It could turn around tomorrow. I thought (Thursday) was our time, but we’re almost there.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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