Steamboat volleyball falls in 5 to Middle Park
Sailors rallied back after a couple of tough games
September 2, 2010
Steamboat Springs — The schedule said it was the first game of the season, but Thursday's volleyball contest between Steamboat Springs and Middle Park high schools had that midseason feel.
There were back-and-forth points, momentum swings, a comeback and a controversial call to open the 2010 campaign for both schools.
It shouldn't come as a surprise, however, as the two teams scrimmaged Saturday. In the end, and when it counted Thursday, Middle Park outlasted Steamboat, taking the match, 3-2, by scores of 25-19, 25-19, 19-25, 25-27, 16-14.
"We got our heads handed to us Saturday against this team," Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said. "I told them afterward it was downright embarrassing. Something turned on for them."
After dominating Saturday's scrimmage, Middle Park looked like it might run away with a quick and tidy three-game match Thursday. The Panthers used their size in the middle and took advantage of the Sailors' unforced errors to take the first two games.
Steamboat never led in the first game and had only four leads in the second game.
But then something turned for the Sailors. Steamboat jumped out in the third game by scores of 14-5 and 18-11 before running away with the game.
"I learned that we can fight back," said Steamboat setter Jenna Peters, who finished with 35 assists and was 19 of 19 serving. "I kind of thought from the start it would be a slow start for this team. But we dug in, picked it up and fought back."
The fourth game featured long rallies and scrappy play on both sides. Steamboat took the lead late in the game before finally converting its fifth game point of the set to send it to a fifth and deciding set.
The two teams again battled and were tied at 12, 13 and 14 points before a controversial call went against Steamboat.
Up 15-14, Middle Park's Cheyenne Hickox got a block for the win.
"I learned they want to fight and compete," Hall said. "They grew up big time."
Maggie Stanford led the Sailors with 23 kills. Kaitie Breisch added nine kills, and Meghan Rabbitt had five. Kailee Duryea had 24 perfect passes and was 36 of 39 passing overall.
Hall said she started to sense in practice this week that the Sailors would play better after Saturday's scrimmage.
She still entered Thursday's match a little unsure what Steamboat's identity would be. But when Steamboat next takes the court — at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Vail Mountain School — Hall thinks the team should start to show its defining characteristic.
"I really thought the way we played (Thursday) could determine our season," Hall said. "Not win or lose, but just how we played. Whether we competed or didn't. If that's the case, it could be a nice year for us."