Moffat County volleyball answers back against Steamboat
The longstanding streak of wins for Steamboat Springs volleyball over their Moffat County High School rivals didn’t let up Thursday night, though the end of the evening showed the Bulldogs can still make the Sailors nervous.
MoCo fell in three straight sets to Steamboat — 25-14, 25-19 and 25-21, but the hosting squad’s growing scores after each round was no accident, as Bulldogs slowly but surely adapted to the Sailor strategy.
After leading comfortably for both of their first sets, the Sailors suddenly hit choppy water early in the third set, courtesy of the Moffat County offense.
MCHS got the score tied at 7 and overtook Steamboat for the first time from there.
It wasn’t a huge breakaway, granted, as the numbers evened up eight more times with each side frantically attempting to stay ahead of the other. At 21-all, the Sailors were back in control, and though an angry MoCo crowd protested a referee call that put the night at match point, Moffat coach Jessica Profumo was having none of it.
“I’m always the type of coach who says it doesn’t matter how the refs call it,” she said. “If that’s it, we should be up by 10 so it doesn’t matter how the refs make a call that seems obvious.”
From there, the Bulldogs got aced when they misjudged a serve to the corner, which was enough to give Steamboat the win.
Work at the service line was a highlight for Steamboat coach Wendy Hall, though she said she felt she didn’t get the team where they needed to be for their opener.
“To be honest, I told the girls I don’t feel like I did a very good job setting up systems in practice,” she said, adding practice and the beginning of the school year rushed the process. “The first two sets were clean, and then we lost focus in the third. It’s nice to see a comeback like that.”
Despite the second loss in a week, Profumo said she believed her players were in a better state of mind in terms of aggression compared to Tuesday against Hayden.
The kill count wasn’t as high as it was against the Tigers, as many big hits Thursday were either sent back by the Sailors or turned out to be a little too much.
“Being disciplined to be in the right place and do your job the way you’re supposed to, the ball should go in the right place, but that’s all part of it,” Profumo said of the overzealous spikes.
Cayden King led the tally with six kills, while Taytum Smercina and Olivia Profumo each claimed four. Eliana Mack had three and Abbe Adams two.
Adams said the net players in particular have been able to function well together.
“It’s really intense, but really fun,” she said.
At setter, a position she’s played since her junior varsity stint last year, Jacie Evenson put together 18 assists.
“I love having the chance to help the team like that,” she said. “I just can’t wait until our senior season.”
With Hailee Herndon still nursing an ankle injury from Tuesday’s game, Profumo had to shift girls around, which had an impact but wasn’t without its benefits.
“You can’t replace Hailee for long, and having some of them in different positions was “They worked for every point and did what I asked them to. I asked them to have less errors on their serving, and they definitely did that.”
Profumo also called up several JV players to suit up for varsity, including freshmen Alexis Jones, Lizzy LeWarne and Sadie Smilanich.
It was a mixed night against Steamboat for the younger teams, with a 2-0 sweep against the C-Team Bulldogs in their first contest on the court.
JV also fell to the Sailors, but they were the lone MoCo team to win a set in a 2-1 evening, coming back from a 25-16 opener to win 25-21 in the second set.
The group took the tiebreaker as far as they could before a 17-15 loss.
“I would rather take a loss like that than a win by 80 any day,” assistant coach Shay Steffan said. “They played awesome, they showed up every time.”
Steffan added that she expects much of the JV roster will be beneficial to the top tier’s bench.
“They’ve really earned those spots,” Steffan said.
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