High school sports preview, Oct. 6 to 8 | SteamboatToday.com

High school sports preview, Oct. 6 to 8

Steamboat Springs No. 1 singles tennis player Charlie Smith returns a shot during a match against Grand Junction Saturday. The Sailors won the match, later losing to Kent Denver. The matches marked the final regular season play for the Sailors, who will compete at regionals in Grand Junction next weekend.

Steamboat tennis

9 a.m. Friday Steamboat Springs at regional

The members of the Steamboat Springs boys high school tennis team will travel to Grand Junction's Canyon View Park for the Regional Tennis Tournament. The top finishers in No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 singles along with the top finishers in No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 doubles will all earn invitations to the state tennis championships in Pueblo, Oct. 13 to 15. Players who finish second and have not played the third-place finishers will meet in the playback round. The winners of those matches will also advance to the state championships.

"It's the most important meet of the season," Steamboat coach Joseph O'Dell said. "All you have to do is play to get into the regional, but you have to win there if you want to get to state."

Aspen, Vail Mountain, Durango and Steamboat Springs will play in the one-day event.

"We are very excited and very confident," O'Dell said. “We like our chances going forward, and we will be looking for some redemption."

Steamboat cross country

10 a.m. Friday Steamboat at Panther Invitational

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The members of the Steamboat Springs High School boys and girls cross-county teams will travel to Delta Friday afternoon to compete in a race featuring some of the top runners on the Western Slope. The event will be a preview of the same course that will be used for the regional meet Oct. 21.

Hayden football

7 p.m. Friday Hayden (2-3) at Rangely (2-3)

The Hayden Tigers will be hoping to shake off a rough homecoming week Friday when the team travels to Rangely to face the Panthers.

The good news for the Tigers is that Rangely has struggled since opening the season 2-0. However, the bad news is that those losses have come to some of the top teams in the state. The team is currently in the middle of a three-game losing streak after falling 46-6 to Soroco on Sept. 9 and then again 54-0 on Sept. 30. The Panthers also suffered a 62-0 loss to Sedgwick County on Sept. 24.

The Tigers also will be looking to get back on a winning track after a tough 53-18 loss to West Grand Friday. Following the loss, Hayden's head coach Ryan Wilkie was able to find some positive highlights in a game that was dominated by the Mustangs. Wilkie said he was happy with the grit his players showed after falling behind early and the fact that his players never gave up in the contest.

Both the Tigers and Panthers are 2-3 this season.

Hayden volleyball

6 p.m. Friday Hayden (3-8) at Rangely (10-3)

23p.m. Saturday, Hayden (3-8) vs. Meeker (10-3)

The Hayden Tigers got a taste of what the Rangely Panthers bring to the court in the season-opening match back in September. The Panthers won the match, 2-0. Now a little more than a month later, the two teams will face each once again in Rangely.

"These girls have a new-found mental toughness," Hayden coach Dayna Hunter said. "They don't give up, and they fight to the end."

The team will need that toughness Friday night when they take on the Panthers, who will be celebrating homecoming. The Panthers are unbeaten in league play and are currently in the midst of a seven-match winning streak. In the team's last match Oct. 10, Rangely topped Hotchkiss 3-0 and had an impressive 3-2 win over a talented Vail Mountain team earlier this season.

The Tigers are rebounding from a 3-0 loss to Paonia Tuesday night in Parachute, but Hunter is confident her team will come to play.

"The key for us is going to be communication,' Hunter said. "If we can improve on that this weekend, I think we can give any team a run for its money."

Hunter said the C-team is slated to begin at 4 p.m., followed by the junior varsity match at 5 p.m. and the varsity match at 6 p.m.

Hayden's second challenge of the weekend will come Saturday afternoon when the team hosts Meeker. The Cowboys have also been impressive this season with the only losses coming to Lyons, Vail Mountain and Rangely. Meeker has won the team's last four matches including a 3-1 win over Soroco Oct. 1.

The C-team match is scheduled for 1 p.m., the junior varsity match is set for 2 p.m. and the varsity teams should be on the court by 3 p.m.

Soroco football

1 p.m. Saturday Soroco (4-1) at Gilpin County (3-2)

The Soroco Rams football team is off to a fast start in 2016, but head coach Dick Dudas wants to make sure his team focuses on what's at hand.

This week, the Rams are completely focused on the 3-2 Gilpin County Eagles — a team that would like nothing more than to beat Soroco in Black Hawk and move up in the A-8 Northwest League standings. Soroco, West Grand and Gilpin County currently are tied with identical 1-0 league records at the top of the standings. Soroco and West Grand are both 4-1 overall.

"They are a decent team," Soroco coach Dick Dudas said of Gilpin County. "They lost the first two games of the season but have won the last three."

The Rams are coming off a huge 54-0 win over Rangely in Oak Creek on Sept. 30. Dudes said the game was important because his team was able to maintain its intensity in a week full of distractions and because the Rams were able to get a lot of players into the game, including Isaac Jonas, who suffered a thumb injury early in the season and had been unable to throw the ball much in the first several games.

"He had not played in that position for more than a month," Dudas said of his quarterback. "He needed the reps."

Dudas is expecting a battle this week against Gilpin County, which is coming off of a 28-0 overtime win against Plateau Valley.

Soroco volleyball

2 p.m. Saturday Soroco at De Beque 2 p.m.

The Soroco Rams volleyball program will be looking to escape a mid-season slump Saturday when the team travels to De Beque for a non-league match against the Dragons. The Rams have faced tough tests the last couple of weeks including matches against Rangely on Sept. 30 and Meeker on Oct. 1.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966