Steamboat volleyball roars back to beat Battle Mountain |

Steamboat volleyball roars back to beat Battle Mountain

The Steamboat Springs High School girls volleyball team celebrates Thursday after knocking off Battle Mountain in four sets.

It sweet was because it was Battle Mountain, and because in the sets the Sailors won, it was decisive, and because it was home in front of friends and family and, well, winning any time is sweet.

All those reasons helped Thursday feel special for the Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team, but on top of all those reasons, it was special because deep down, even though doubt crept in in the last month, the Sailors thought they were this good, and for the first time this season, they showed it.

Steamboat beat Battle Mountain in four sets, 25-17, 25-21, 21-25 and 25-14 and the Sailors didn't struggle to sum up what that meant.

"That was a big one," junior Anna Allsberry said. "That was really important. That was just fun. We played our hearts out."

It was Steamboat's first win over the Huskies since 2015, when the Sailors beat Battle Mountain on the road to secure the Western Slope League Championship.

Thursday's game didn't quite have that kind of importance in the grand scheme of things, but it may have been just as important for this year's squad.

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Steamboat started the league season on a fairly miserable slide, losing its first four games in the Western Slope. It was 4-9 overall at one point, potentially facing one of its worse seasons of the last decade.

It hoped things started to turn around late last month when it finally won its first league game, against Rifle. It followed that up against Summit. But, those are two of the bottom dwellers in the Western Slope this year.

Was it a revival or a respite?

After Thursday, Steamboat's more confident than ever.

"We're turning around and now we're heading down the road," Allsberry said. "Now we're cruising."

They certainly were Thursday.

It was Battle that won in four sets when the teams met earlier this season.

A few things were different Thursday. For one, while the Sailors were missing one key component, middle blocker Avery Harrington, who's out with a concussion, the Sailors had another back in the lineup in setter Abi Berlet, who missed the first Battle Mountain match.

The team got big blocks throughout the night from Este Wilkinson. She finished with a dozen, and Berlet added eight more.

They were excited.

"Our energy tonight was better, by far," Wilkinson said. "Every one of us was loud and energetic. Who doesn't want to hammer Battle Mountain?"

Next up for the Sailors is a trip to Palisade on Saturday. Steamboat lost the first match against Palisade in three sets. They're hoping something's different this time, however.

"This was a make or break for turning things around," coach Wendy Hall said. "This is one we had to have. We at times looked fantastic tonight."