Hayden volleyball rights the ship on ‘Think Pink’ night
Steamboat Springs — After three demoralizing losses in a seven-day span, Hayden High School volleyball righted the ship in a big-time way Friday night.
Sporting their “Think Pink” uniforms and playing their final game in their home gym this season, the Tigers made quick work of visiting Vail Mountain, 3-0.
Hayden (10-6 overall) controlled the first game in a 25-18 victory but were challenged at times during the next two. Trailing for most of the second set, Hayden rallied to tie the game at 16 and were able to close out Vail Mountain, 25-23.
Similar to Game Two, the Tigers weathered a slow start and a late Vail Mountain flurry in a 25-23 clincher.
“It’s weird, the entire game it felt like we were always just points and points ahead of them,” Hayden coach Christene Planansky said. “It just felt different. I think it was because the girls were so confident.”
That word — confidence — has been a mainstay in pregame and postgame huddles all year for the Tigers. When things have gone right during Hayden’s now 10 wins, Planansky points to confidence, and when things go wrong, like last week’s losing streak, it’s a lack thereof.
One player who jolted the Tigers’ confidence Friday was junior Jordan Temple and her powerful presence at the net. Temple’s tone-setting kills were an “adrenaline rush” for a Hayden squad that fields multiple underclassmen on the floor.
“They have to keep this confidence that we can take it,” Planansky said. “We can do what needs to get done.”
Hayden got it done on a night that Planansky worried an emotional roller coaster might get the better of her squad. The combination of senior night, parent appreciation night and the season’s final few games could have anchored down her Tigers down.
“Honestly, I was afraid that emotions would take over the game, because a lot of times, it does,” Planansky said. “They want it so badly. It’s just sad that it’s the last one but also so happy that they won.”
It wasn’t the last one entirely, because now Hayden has to revert its attention to a date at third-place Vail Christian on Saturday. The Saints whipped Hayden in a straight-game sweep Sept. 19.
“I think Saturday they’re out for blood because Vail Christian beat us pretty bad at home,” Planansky said about her team’s season finale. “We’re willing to return the favor.”
Sharing thanks, enjoying some laughs, and shedding a few tears are an indicator of the emotional levels that always seem to come with Moffat County High School graduation.