Sailors volleyball prepares for two weeks of league play

— Steamboat Springs High School volleyball coach Wendy Hall isn't ready to call her team one of the Western Slope League's elite.

But with back-to-back weeks of Western Slope League play starting at 6:30 p.m. today at Glenwood Springs, Hall said the opportunity for the Sailors (6-2 overall, 2-1 in league play) to distinguish themselves in the league is certainly present.

"We've beat two (league) teams that beat us last year. Those were two big wins for us," Hall said in reference to early-season wins against Moffat County and Eagle Valley. "What we're missing is that elusive upset to really get us over the hump. That will give us that confidence we really need."

In Glenwood Springs (7-1, 3-0), Steamboat faces a team whose only loss came against Class 5A school Grand Junction Central.

Along with a five-game win against league rival Palisade and three-game wins against Rifle and Delta, the Demons have proven they are one of five teams battling for a top spot.

"It's a good test for us," Hall said, noting she was able to see Glenwood at a tournament earlier this year. "They definitely have some hitting power."

That hitting power is generally provided by a three-person front line of Kelsie Hert, Toni Gottschalck and Chelsea Vallario.

Hall said for Steamboat to be successful, the team has to get into its game from the start.

That means being more on the offensive and dictating the pace of play, Hall said.

"We have to play some really aggressive offense and keep them on the defense," Hall said. "It's important to dictate the game. I think that's what happened against Battle Mountain. They dictated, and we were trying to react."

Hall said today's game is important for Steamboat to continue its winning ways because of the attitude winning brings.

"I'm really happy with the chemistry," Hall said. "It's a lot easier to get along when you're winning, but I do really like the progress we've made.

"I think success is contagious. A lot of times, the only way to turn is for them to experience more and more success."

Steamboat plays Saturday at Rifle. The game originally was scheduled as a home game but was switched so Steamboat could play at home against Rifle during homecoming Oct. 13.

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