With the district tournament in Steamboat Springs Saturday, the Craig Middle School volleyball teams hope their season improvement will continue.
The eighth-grade team hopes the improvement will pay off for the first win of the season. A 0-5 league record has come with several closely played matches, according to coach Diana Booco.
"We've seen a lot of close games," she said. "We have struggled sometimes with consistency and, with rally scoring, a lack of consistency hurts."
Booco and her staff installed a 6-2 offense for the team this year, meaning that instead of rotating every sideout to different setters, the setters remain the same.
"The new offense took a little while for them to get used to," Booco said. "But I think they've got it mastered now, which gives us some variety."
For the district tournament, the Bulldogs have a tough first test with a match against undefeated Meeker. Some of the team members have been working on jump serves for the final games of the season.
"We've had a good week of practice," Booco said. "It has been relaxed but at the same time we've focused hard on preparing for the tournament."
With a competitive league, Booco said she thought her girls could at least get one win if they play their game.
"We're going in as underdogs," she said. "But we know that whomever has the best games will come out on top."
The seventh-grade team had a coaching change halfway through the season and current head coach Susan Gregg has been impressed with their willingness to want to improve.
"I have girls who want me to stay after practice," she said. "They just want to keep playing."
The team has won its last three matches to even its record at 3-3.
"The A-team has really gelled," she said. "We've been playing some good ball going into the tournament."
For their first season playing organized volleyball, Gregg said the seventh graders have mastered the basics and have established a bump-set-spike game that will help them in the tournament.
"We actually will be able to run some plays," Gregg said. "I think we are going into the tournament ready."
The seventh-grade team will face Rangely first in the tournament.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.