Steamboat knocks off Rifle |

Steamboat knocks off Rifle

Joel ReichenbergerPILOT & TODAY STAFFGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Steamboat Springs junior Colleen King, left, and senior Maggie Kriz go up to block Rifle's Morgan Patrick Saturday in Steamboat. King and Kriz proved effective blocking the Bears' best hitters as the Sailors rolled to a three-game match victory.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colorado The Steamboat Springs girls volleyball team played so quickly, it almost seemed like the Sailors had made other plans for Saturday night.In any case, they wasted little time in dispatching Rifle, a powerful win that might help Steamboat get back on track. The Sailors defended their home court Saturday, winning 25-7, 25-15, 25-13.It was great to see us stay focused for three games, Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said. Rifle was not at their best tonight, but we stayed focused and didnt let the guard down.Steamboat relied upon the strong arm of junior setter Colleen King more much of its offense Saturday, but it was the defense King and the Sailors were able to generate that really opened the match wide.King and senior Maggie Kriz dominated one end of the net, combining for seven blocks. Together, they prevented Rifle from generating but a few big swings, frustrating the Bears throughout the night.After a rout in the first game, it wasnt so much that Steamboat (9-4) walked away with the other two. More, the Sailors pieced together huge runs midway through both victories to ensure a three-set match.Rifle played its best ball in the second game and hung without a point through the early going. The Bears finally found some holes in Steamboats defense and did a better job setting up all of its attacks.When our passing isnt there, nothing happens, Rifle coach Geneva Farr said. Our passing was more consistent early in the second game, but once we shanked one pass, our minds seemed to go with it.It stayed close for a while, but the Sailors still blew it open. King provided the big hits, Kriz the blocks and junior Gracie Stockdale a long series of solid serves as Steamboat turned a 13-12 game into a 22-12 rout.(Hall) told me to keep the serves in and run the offense, said Stockdale, who served as Steamboat scored nine consecutive points. I tried not to do anything too fancy. I didnt go for the ace or the deep corner. I just got it over and it worked.Rifle (7-7) wasnt quite as good in the third game, but still challenged Steamboat early. But again, the Sailors exploded. Junior Devin Wilkinson and senior Kacey Bull each picked up kills as the lead expanded.Steamboats just a graceful team, Farr said. They were smooth, consistent and they communicated really well. Any team that can comminute that well, be it the Bears or the Sailors, is going to make a lot of good decisions.That communication caught Halls eye as well. She said it was exactly the medicine an ailing Steamboat squad needed. After opening the season 7-1, the Sailors had lost three of their previous four.There wasnt much indecision out there, she said of the efficient offense. Im really happy. It looked like we were back on track after a rough couple weeks.

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