Sailors spikers get by Vail Mountain in four
EAST VAIL – Steamboat Springs volleyball coach Wendy Hall wasn’t too thrilled Wednesday evening, while her counterpart at the Vail Mountain School, Mike Garvey, was.
And that’s a little strange given that Hall’s Sailors defeated the Garvery’s Gore Rangers, 21-25, 25-13, 25-20, 25-17 in nonconference action Thursday night in East Vail.
Behold the differing goals of nonleague play as teams of various classifications prepare for their league slates.
Hall was fine with the physical mistakes her Sailors made early. Those happen, and presumably, that’s the purpose of these contests as well as practice. The issue was intensity for Steamboat.
“That’s stuff we should be able to count on from Day 1,” said Hall, whose team won its first match of the season. “I’m a little upset with that tonight. I kind of felt I had to chew them a little bit. Then they got in there and picked it up. I don’t feel like I should have to do that. They should get in there and play with that kind of passion and hustle and grit every night. That’s what I’m hoping we learn from tonight. Only time will tell.”
While Steamboat was coming off a five-set loss to Middle Park, ranked No. 2 in the state in 3A, Vail Mountain dealt with consistency issues at the season-opening tournament at Plateau Valley. Against Steamboat, the 2A Gore Rangers were happy to compete legitimately against the 4A Sailors.
“I think they’re most pleased that they played significantly better than last weekend,” Garvey said. “I think they were glad to come out and see they are who they thought they were. They settled in a little bit.”
VMS looked sharp in the opening stanza, serving well to keep Steamboat from setting up its powerful attack. Up front, the Gore Rangers mixed up full attacks with tips, preventing the Sailors from setting up their blocks.
The decisive turn, however came in Game 3 as the Sailors were able to force the Gore Rangers to play power volleyball. Tied at one game each, Steamboat overcame a 15-6 with deft serving from Meghan Rabbitt, Kaitie Braich and Jenna Peters.
Their serves produced free balls from VMS, and Steamboat was able to put those on a tee for successful attacks and kills, storming back to a 25-20 win.
“I think what it came down is we didn’t play consistently enough to put pressure on them,” Garvey said. “The ball was always going to them easily, and we can play with those teams, but when you have players banging the ball like that consistently, we’re not going to hang in there.”
Sailors juniors Maggie Stanford and Rabbit were the main beneficiaries of those free balls, very capably set up by Peters.
“It feels good to get one,” Stanford said. “Our emotions were like a roller coaster. We have to learn to learn how to fight the whole way through and keep our energy up. I think that’s what hurt us in the first two games.”
Meanwhile for VMS, senior Clare Elich played in her first home game in more than a year after missing last season with a knee injury.
“She’s our captain and she leads us, and she would have been last year,” Garvey said. “It’s nice to have here back. She leads the team emotionally. And her play, it goes without saying, is just solid all-around.”
Steamboat (1-1) continues to prepare for 4A Slope play with a tournament down at Bishop Machebeuf Saturday. VMS (1-3) starts the 2A Slope at North Park Friday, followed by a home game Saturday against West Grand at 3 p.m.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.