Volleyball team unable to put Steamboat away
The Moffat County volleyball team could taste its first victory against Steamboat Springs since 1989. That taste turned bitter because after going up 2 games to 1, the Bulldogs were outscored, 40-21, to lose the match in five games.
“I guess our emotions got to us after we won the third,” senior Mari Katherine Raftopoulos said. “We played so well in the third, and then to let up like that. I’m kind of in shock.”
That shock comes after the Bulldogs knew this year was as good as any to beat the Sailors.
Steamboat was coming off three straight losses, including the team’s first loss to Delta in 20 years. The Sailors were 0-3 this year in five-game matches.
Oh, and don’t forget about the unfriendly confines of the Moffat County gym.
“This team has let up in these situations this year,” Steamboat Springs coach Wendy Hall said. “The way things had been going for us, it didn’t look good.”
Then the Sailors reeled off 14 of the final 19 points in the fourth game to win, 25-13. They carried that momentum into the fifth game for a 15-8 win. It clinched the Sailor’s first, five-game win of the season, 25-15, 17-25, 23-25, 25-13, 15-8.
It was a win that Sailors senior Tara King said was more of a relief than anything.
“I gave a big sigh of relief,” she said. “Coming back like this gives us hope for the rest of the season.”
From the Moffat County outlook, the Bulldogs have talked about keeping their times of poor play or “valleys” short this year. Those past two games may be the toughest valley of the entire season to swallow.
The shock is that the Bulldogs were so close. They rallied behind senior Brenna Conci’s serve in the third game to score nine consecutive points.
The place was going crazy.
There wasn’t much more for the home fans to cheer for the rest of the way.
All night Moffat struggled with being in the right position before the serve. The teams was penalized five times for having the wrong rotation on the court.
The Sailors scored seven times on tips in the first game, but Moffat sealed up that hole for the second and third games. It wasn’t so much holes as passing problems that cost the Bulldogs in the fourth and fifth games.
Strong serving from Steamboat’s Missy Chotvacs, Elizabeth Johnson and King kept the Bulldogs from establishing a return attack in the final two games.
It allowed the Sailors to rally.
“We didn’t get down on each other,” King said. “It really helped us stay united on the court and make the comeback.”
King and Hall said the team got together Monday and talked about how finger pointing had really torn the team apart last week.
“They needed to own up to their own mistakes,” Hall said.
From the appearance of things, the Steamboat girls were frequently pointing to themselves and saying “my fault” after a mistake.
“That wasn’t happening before,” King said. “We were looking to blame our teammates too much.”
Both teams have Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain remaining on their schedule. If Steamboat, 6-6 in the Western Slope League, wins one of those matches, it will finish one place ahead of Moffat County, 5-7, in fourth place in the league.
Raftopoulos said her team needs to use the Steamboat match to improve for the final two matches of the regular season. Then it’s on to a district tournament.
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