Playoffs on the line after Saturday loss for SSHS volleyball | SteamboatToday.com

Playoffs on the line after Saturday loss for SSHS volleyball

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Through various extended streaks this season, the Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team has looked nearly unbeatable and very much beatable.

Saturday, one streak — the good kind for the Sailors — ended in a 3-1 home loss to Glenwood Springs.

Now with two games remaining, the Sailors can't let that that loss start a new losing streak if they have any hopes of qualifying for the Class 4A regional tournament.

"It can stop our momentum if we let it," Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said. "We can't let it."

Steamboat entered Saturday's match ranked No. 37 in Class 4A in the RPI standings, the formula that will be used to decide which 36 teams are selected for the regional tournament.

Those teams are divided using those rankings into a dozen three-team pods, so the No. 36 team will have a nearly impossible task of getting through a regional featuring the No. 1 team. Worrying about that isn't a luxury the Sailors have at the moment, however, because if the tournament were held tomorrow — or even if it were held Friday, when the team was in the midst of a six-match winning streak — it would be out.

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"Eagle Valley match could really help us in that regard," Hall said.

Steamboat has a chance to climb back in, but it won't be easy. Eagle Valley, tied with Glenwood atop the Western Slope League, will visit Steamboat at 6 p.m. Thursday for the last home match of the Sailors' season.

Steamboat then travels to Rifle next weekend for its last regular season match of the year.

Hall said her team is much more prepared for the pressure those matches could bring than it was three weeks ago, when it's just-snapped, six-game streak started.

The Sailors lost all four of their league matches before that and stood at 4-9 on the season. They tore through the middle part of their schedule, however, picking up wins against several teams in the bottom part of the league, but also several above, including a 3-0 sweep against Palisade, which was then in first place.

"They know how to get out of it, and know what they need to do," Hall said of her team. "Unlike a team that's used to winning and all of the sudden has to deal with loss, we've been dealing with loss this year."

The team didn't revert back to its 0-4 form Saturday, and in fact, early it looked like it could extend its winning streak to seven matches.

Steamboat cruised in the afternoon's first set, winning 25-18. They managed Glenwood's biggest threat, Tye Wedhorn, who leads the league in kills, blocking her four times in that set alone.

"We came out exactly like we did against Palisade, doing everything right. We got them off balance," Hall said.

Glenwood changed its approach, however, and drastically changed its results.

"They stopped hitting and started tipping like crazy and moving the ball around and we were not seeing it soon enough," Hall said. "That took us out of momentum."

The Demons won the second set in lopsided fashion, 25-13. The third was closer, 25-19. The fourth was similar, 25-18, with Glenwood building comfortable leads midway through the sets, then hanging on easily to win.

Steamboat wasn't as sharp through the last three sets, struggling to set up big hits and committing just enough costly errors.

"I've got to give Glenwood a lot of credit," Hall said. "They played a very good defensive game and they were digging some balls. We weren't used to really long rallies. In those six wins, we were able to find the floor a lot quicker."

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

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