Before a packed house, the Steamboat Sailors High School varsity volleyball team was crowned the regular season Western Slope Conference champs for the second straight year Thursday in Craig by downing the Moffat County High School Bulldogs in two games.
The Sailors won the match, 15-5 and 15-4, to improve to 16-2 overall and finish the season at 7-1 in conference.
The Bulldogs dropped to 9-8 on the year with a league mark of 6-2 which good enough for second place.
"We played a decent game against Steamboat Springs and we just couldn't capitalize on their errors," said Bulldogs coach Vicki Haddan. "Steamboat Springs is a tough team. I think if we can pick up some of there hits we will be O.K."
Sailors coach Wendy Hall said the start of the game was the difference in the match.
"The advantage we had over Moffat County is that we had already beat them twice this year and if we didn't come ready to play tonight it would have been a lot tougher road," said Hall. "The fact that we were ready to play and that we jumped out to an early lead gave us a confidence boost and did the opposite for them.
"Moffat County had a huge crowd and we took them out in the first game and they were pretty silent after that," said Hall. "I think that was the real key to the win tonight." Offensively for the Sailors, Jessica Fritz, a junior, finished the match with seven kills. Jessica Johnson, a junior, and Allison Griffing, a freshman, both finished with five kills.
"I thought that our defense was our spark," said Hall. "We got some balls that were up in the air that most teams have some trouble doing. A lot of our energy comes from our defense."
The Bulldogs were paced by Cammie Hillewaert, a senior, who had seven kills and Sarah Haslem, a senior, who finished with five. Emily Mortensen, a junior, piloted the offense with 15 assists.
"For some reason when we play Steamboat Springs we don't have the confidence that we have when we play the other teams," said Haddan. "It's great to finish in second place in our league and we still can hold our heads high.
"The crowd was great tonight and it was nice to see all the people out. "
In the junior varsity game, the Sailors edged the Bulldogs in three games, 8-15, 17-15 and 15-12.
In the freshmen game, the Sailors won, 18-16 and 15-6.
The Bulldogs junior varsity will next be in action at 5 p.m. Saturday when they host Hayden. The freshmen will play at 4 p.m.
The varsity team will next be in action Oct. 29 at the district tournament held at Steamboat Springs high school.
"It's good to know that we will have three games next weekend," said Haddan. "It will be good to go down there and play."