Sailors push Demons to limit
Special to the Post Independent
The Steamboat Springs Sailors rocked the boat in Chavez-Spencer gymnasium Thursday night, but they failed to push the Demons over the edge as Glenwood held on to win 3-2 (22-25, 25-23, 22-25, 25-23, 15-9).
“It was good to have a five-game match,” said Demons coach Scott Nykerk. “A lot of our matches have been too straight-forward.”
The momentum shifted back and forth as both teams struggled to gain a lead. The largest margin of the first four games was six points, with Glenwood up 15-9 in the second game and 18-12 in the fourth.
Glenwood won both games by taking substantial leads at the halfway point. But the 11 ties in the third game was more indicative of how the match teetered back and forth between the two 4A Western Slope League rivals.
Steamboat’s Tara King, Lisa Floyd, and Katie Gary were all dominant defensive players at the net. Between the three, they held Leah Hinkey in check for most of the first three games of the match, although she would emerge in the last game to help claim the victory.
“They put up a big block on us,” said Nykerk. “But we have smart enough players to know where to place the ball against a block. Toward the end we finally figured it out.”
Both teams struggled from the serving line as many serves found the net or out of bounds.
The coaches were a bit frustrated with that aspect of the contest.
“We missed way too many serves,” said Steamboat coach Wendy Hall. “We need to kick up our focus a little, because often it’s the little things that make the big difference.”
“We’ll be practicing serves tomorrow, believe me,” added Nykerk. “There’s a fine line between serving tough and just serving it out.”
After falling behind 2-0 in the fifth game, the Demons found their groove and scored five points in a row. They held on to win as both Lawson and Hinkey started finding ways to get the ball past the outstretched arms of King and Gary.
“Lawson had a lot of smart plays,” said Nykerk. “For three games now we’ve played her in the left front position as our primary hitter, and she’s done really well.”
As the Sailors diverted some of their attention to Lawson, Hinkey found more room to showcase her talents. Five of the last seven points were strong strikes by Hinkey, including the game-winner. But the Sailors, made Hinkey earn them. Gary delayed the victory by blocking two match points ” both attempted spikes by Hinkey. Hall was proud of Gary’s individual effort, as well as her team as a whole.
“For a sophomore (Gary) to step up and solo block two match points from one of the best hitters in the state, it was just amazing,” said Hall. “Our team played hard tonight. I haven’t seen that kind of heart and determination from my team all year. We stepped up and we had a great chance to win.”
With the victory, Glenwood improves their Western Slope League record to 8-1, 13-1 overall. Steamboat falls to .500 in the league at 4-4, and drops to 6-5 overall.
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