Steamboat defense downs Demons
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Maggie Kriz hadn’t had a kill the entire game.But when it mattered most for the Steamboat Springs volleyball team, the Sailors junior middle blocker came through to turn the momentum on Glenwood Springs Thursday night. Up a game, but down 19-24 in second game, Kriz – with clutch help at the net from Natalie Nichols and solid serving from Lisa Floyd – had two blocks and three kills in Steamboat’s seven-point rally for a comeback game victory. With the tide of momentum turned, Steamboat (12-4 overall and 8-3 in league) breezed through the third game and won the match (25-22, 26-24, 25-14).”If that second game had gone the other way, I’m convinced it would have been a five-game battle,” Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said. “It showed incredible determination on our part to not go down.”In the teams’ last meeting, Sept. 20, Steamboat narrowly escaped from Glenwood (9-7 overall, 5-6 in 4A Western Slope League) with a victory in five close games.After game one, another classic battle looked to be shaping up.”It was point for point as usual,” Glenwood coach Scott Nykerk said of the first game that featured 11 ties.Steamboat jumped to a 12-8 lead, but Glenwood, behind solid play at the net from Kelsie Hert, tied things at 13. Steamboat pulled away with just enough plays at the net down the stretch to pull away from 22-22 with a trio of Steamboat kills, the final one smashed by Katy Gary.Glenwood demonstrated its most balance offense in game two, playing as Nykerk put it, “focused from antenna to antenna.” The Demons out-hit the Sailors 13-8 with all six players from its starting rotation contributing kills. But then Glenwood got to that crucial game point and just couldn’t finish.”That last point we have trouble siding out of,” said Demons middle blocker Toni Gottschalck, who led her team with seven kills. “But I’m proud of us, I think we played hard.”Steamboat jumped to a big 10-2 lead in the final game with the help of five early Glenwood errors. With a few nice serves from Hert, who also notched five of her team-leading 12 blocks in the third game, Glenwood fought back to 22-13. Steamboat answered with its most polished offense of the match, with four kills from Heidi Lord and three more from Gary’s team-leading collection of 10.”We told ourselves we could come back from 24-14 like we did with Battle Mountain,” Gottschalck said. “Steamboat decided to play harder in the third game. Their ‘D’ was amazing tonight.”Chelsea Vallario and Hert each chipped in six kills apiece for the Demons.Glenwood hosts Moffat County at 1 p.m. Saturday.
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