Hayden volleyball’s late heroics down Soroco in 3 | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden volleyball’s late heroics down Soroco in 3

— The Hayden girls volleyball team knocked off Soroco in three games Saturday evening. Still, no one watching would have called the performance dominating. The Tigers put together perfectly timed runs in each of the three games, and the 25-23, 27-25 and 25-18 win secured Hayden a season sweep against its cross-county rival.

“It feels great to get a sweep,” Hayden senior Keisha McClintock said. “We played the best we could. We went out with a lot of enthusiasm and energy.”

The Tigers, 5-13 in the season, managed the victory with clean and efficient ball handling and a bevy of powerful swings.

Jarah Woodley and Samantha Huffar combined for 33 assists, and Ashlee Doolin and Rachael Koehler each had eight kills. Erin Koehler led with nine.

Soroco’s defense often proved resilient, but Doolin and the Koehler sisters kept the hard attacks coming, and time and time again that made the difference.

“We played all of our seniors today since it was their last home game, and I told them there was no pressure, just to go out and have fun,” Hayden coach Greg Johnson said. “That’s the way they played. They were loose, they had some fun, and they played with their hearts.”

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Soroco, meanwhile, proved to be a team entirely unwilling to go away, but equally unable to put it away.

Three of the games were neck-and-neck throughout. The Rams had a 23-22 lead late in the first game, but a Rachael Koehler kill helped the Tigers recover and pull ahead for the win.

“We talked before about taking Rachael out of her game, but we couldn’t do it enough,” Soroco coach Kim Reeves said. “She’s a really good hitter because she moves around so much. Our blocks and our defense weren’t ever sure where she was going to go.”

The second game was even closer. Soroco again took a late lead, 24-23, but missed twice on game-point opportunities. Hayden finally strung together three consecutive points – two thanks to Rachael Koehler, who had a kill and a block – and took another game.

Finally, in the third, the Rams stormed back from two significant holes. They were down 5-1 but went up 13-12. Then, after surrendering six consecutive points, they trailed 18-13 only to again pull within two points.

Hayden found one last spurt and closed out the final game, scoring five of the last seven points.

Soroco was sent packing in three games for the second consecutive night, after losing in three Friday at Vail Mountain.

“We played awesome tonight. They just put down a few more balls than we did,” Reeves said. “It was the same as Friday night. We were right with them the whole time, but we had a couple more errors.”

Both teams return to action next weekend at the district volleyball tournament in Meeker, where they’ll fight for a chance to move on in the postseason.

“We’re going into districts without having to play in the pigtail, so that’s huge for us,” Reeves said, referring to the play-in game for districts. “We just need to have some big practices this week before that tournament.”