Craig Middle School volleyball setting sights higher | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig Middle School volleyball setting sights higher

Bulldogs labor for wins in home tourney against Meeker, Soroco, Rangely

— The Craig Middle School volleyball teams hosted their home tournament Saturday in the gyms at CMS and Sandrock Elementary School against visiting Soroco, Rangely and Meeker.

All four Craig squads — A and B teams for both seventh and eighth grades — were defeated in their first games, each to Meeker. Eighth-grade A struggled the most at the beginning, without scoring double digits in any of their first trio of games, as Meeker swept them, 15-6, 15-7 and 15-9.

"It's hard to see low scores like that when they know what to do," eighth-grade coach Markie Green said.

Meanwhile, in Sandrock's gym, the seventh-graders were able to put up more of a fight as their B team, after falling, 15-13, dominated Meeker in the second game of their set, 15-6, only to have the Cowboys hit back hard to finish things, 15-9.

The seventh-grade A team failed to find a win after a nail-biter first game at 16-14.

"Basically, we had poor serving. That and the passing killed us," coach Vicki Blomquist said. "It was still close, and the scoring was not indicative of some of the good things I was seeing out there. Our skills are really improving."

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Players Jenna Timmer and Payton Voloshin, both seventh-graders, said in hindsight that they regretted not playing their hardest on the court.

"We let a lot of balls go over," Voloshin said.

The seventh-grade A team finished fourth of the four teams in its bracket while the B team was third.

Back at CMS, the eighth-graders returned for their second round with renewed sense of vigor against Soroco. A long battle ensued in the first A team game, as the girls fought to the end of a 19-17 skirmish.

The tide turned after that, as the Bulldogs tightened up their play to win twice, 15-7 and 15-9, to claim third-place honors.

Following that, the B team was defeated by Soroco, but overall the eighth-grade teams have continued to improve, Green said.

"We've been doing a lot better than we were last week” at a Steamboat tournament, she said.

Players Mackenzie Marshall, Makaylah Hampton and Trinitie Beckner said they are much further along in their skill set than they were as seventh-graders last year.

"We're better now at everything from serving to setting to moving to passing to spiking," Beckner said. "Everything."

The number of victories has been small, but the proficiency is already there for most of Green's girls. Nearly all of them have mastered the overhand serving technique that won't be optional later.

"Everything we're doing in practice is stuff that will be incorporated in high school," she said.

The seventh-grade teams will be spread out in Rangely and Baggs, Wyoming, this week, and all teams will spend the weekend in Walden for a tourney hosted by North Park Middle School.

As they prepare for new competition, the biggest hurdle for players has been keeping enthusiasm high, Green said.

"One person gets down, and it'll affect the whole team," she said. "In basketball, two or three people can do good and the others may just be having an off game. This is a little more of 'we all have to work together.' We need them to pep each other up. We keep telling them we can't coach them how to have fun."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.