Here is something new in the Western Slope volleyball League.-
After years and years of a couple of top-end teams dominating league play, it appears that the league race is wide open.-
And it makes games like Friday's tilt with Steamboat and Eagle Valley all the more fun.-
Steamboat, after falling on Thursday to Glenwood Springs, rebounded nicely on Friday, picking up a 3-0 win.-
Steamboat won 25-23, 25-20 and 25-22.-
The league has been "strange in that way," Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said. "There definitely isn't a front-runner. It makes it a lot of fun. But there also isn't a team that is a guaranteed win. It's fun that way."
Glenwood, Delta and Palisade all sit at the top of the league, with Steamboat and Eagle Valley battling for the fourth spot.-
But only three games separated Glenwood from Steamboat and Eagle Valley.-
"Everybody is tough," Eagle Valley coach Shawn Weatherred said, "but everybody is beatable."
On Friday, marking the Sailors' homecoming, it was the home team that took advantage early.-
Steamboat was able to get over Thursday's disappointment against Glenwood and channel their emotions into a big early lead.-
The Sailors led 6-0 in the early going before the Devils started to chip away.-
Steamboat was much more efficient hitting the ball Friday, after registering just 24 kills in 116 attempts on Thursday.-
Eagle Valley also struggled passing the ball and could never really build any momentum.-
"We didn't score enough points," Weatherred said. "You have to earn points and tonight we didn't earn enough."
The Devils' first lead came in the third game when they led, 6-5.-
Steamboat, however, squashed any momentum, thanks in large part to the work of outside hitter and senior Alex Feeley.-
Feeley, who was frustrated in the early half of Friday's games, bounced back with her defense.-
Eventually, she started to get her offense going in the third game, her biggest kill finishing off the night.-
"The team will feed off of her one way or the other," Hall said. "It's a big responsibility for her, but she's handling it."
Steamboat improved to 7-6 overall and 3-3 in league play. Eagle Valley fell to 2-6 and 2-4.-
Steamboat next plays at 6 p.m. Tuesday at home against Battle Mountain. Eagle Valley plays at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Palisade.