Bullpups spikers complete season in Steamboat

Both Craig Middle School volleyball teams finished in third place Saturday at the district tournament in Steamboat Springs.

The eighth-graders started the tournament by dropping a tough three-set match to Meeker, 10-15, 15-9, and 9-15.

"Meeker and us are well-matched and even," said eighth-grade coach Kelly McLaughlin. "In the third game against Meeker we missed some serves that really hurt us. Meeker played a very good game and they served extremely well in the third game."

In the consolation game, the Bullpups downed Rangely, 15-6, 12-15 and 15-4.

The season was a success for the Bullpups, according to McLaughlin.

"During the season I saw 180 percent improvement," said McLaughlin. "They came in with basic skills and they are playing good volleyball right now. They came a long ways and I am very proud of them."

The seventh-graders suffered its first loss of the season in the first round to Steamboat Springs, 15-17, 15-13 and 13-15. The Bullpups bounced back to down Rangely in two games to end up in third place.

"It was like playing a different team, because Steamboat Springs was much improved from the last time we played them," said seventh-grade coach Ann Stehlin. "We made some mistakes that we don't normally make. The kids were feeling the pressure of an undefeated season."

Stehlin believes her team improved each time on the court.

"The kids had a fantastic season," said Stehlin. "They played great ball and they got better each week. It was a pleasure to coach them."

McLaughlin said her players are prepared to make the jump to high school.

"I feel that they are ready to go to the freshman level," said McLaughlin. "That is my job to get them ready to play at the high school level and they are ready."

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