Volleyball team falls short

— The Montezuma-Cortez volleyball team proved unstoppable over the weekend, handing Steamboat Springs two losses during the District 7 volleyball tournament in the Panthers' home gym.

Despite the losses, the Sailors, 19-4 overall, finished second in the tournament.

The Sailors dropped their first match to the Panthers in the final round of pool play early Saturday morning. After beating Palisade in the semifinals, Steamboat earned a rematch with Montezuma-Cortez in the championship. The Panthers won in two games.

The Panthers' outside hitters Casey Bauer and Stephanie Allison were too much for the Sailors.

"Cortez played amazing," Sailors coach Wendy Hall said. "In order to beat them, we needed to eliminate all of our unforced errors and offensively we had to keep them on the defensive end of things."

After a five-hour wait, the Sailors came back for their last match of the day flat and let the Panthers get an early lead, which ended in a 15-8 win. The Panthers captured the district title with a 15-3 win in the second game.

"The kids were disappointed with the way they played at the end. They hoped to give (the Panthers) another match and give them their best to see how they stacked up," Hall said.

The Sailors came out strong in their first match of the day and were leading 12-11 when they made a few errors to lose 15-12.

In the next game, the Sailors started down 8-1 before they pulled together to give the Panthers an even game, Hall said. But the Panthers still walked away with a 15-7 win.

Steamboat was able to rebound from its first tournament loss as it pounded Palisade 15-3, 15-6 during the semifinal round. It was sweet revenge to a degree Palisade handed Steamboat its first loss of the season earlier this month.

"We had our worst performance of the year against Palisade almost a month ago," Hall said. "We had something to prove to ourselves. It was really our best volleyball all year."

Steamboat came out strong and played smart tallying only five unforced errors in the Palisade match, which guaranteed the Sailors' berth in next weekend's regional tournament.

"That is just great volleyball," Hall said. "I was really excited to see these kids play this way. They took it to a new level."

Glenwood Springs, who had beaten Steamboat last week to earn the tournament's No. 1 seed, lost to Palisade in pool play. The Demons came back to beat the Bulldogs and take third place.

Glenwood Springs and Montezuma-Cortez will join Steamboat at the regional tournament, which will be played at the home of the District 6 winner.

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