Summit nearly topples mighty Steamboat |

Summit nearly topples mighty Steamboat

In the middle of homecoming week, Summit High School saw a volleyball match that will not soon be forgotten. The Tigers (4-5) faced a tough task against Steamboat Springs (10-2) on Oct. 1, but a jam-packed, raucous student section brought the Tigers confidence in their David vs. Goliath quest.

“Our adrenaline was really up,” freshman Anna Dodson said.

Set one

Steamboat got on the scoreboard first, but Summit responded with a spike that was met with a thundering cheer from the rowdy Summit student section. After this, it appeared that Summit couldn’t be derailed, taking an 11-6 lead off an enormous spike from Dodson and an ace from sophomore Sage Kent on the next serve. By the time the score was 15-6, Summit had held Steamboat scoreless on ten straight serves.

Summit continued with a long string of rallies, along with a number of heart-clenching saves and miraculous bumps. On the last serve of the set, a Steamboat Sailor spike sailed long and the Tigers took the first set, 25-14.

Set two

Summit didn’t let off the gas in the second set, quickly jumping to a 6-4 lead off a perfectly placed Lexi Zangari spike.The senior followed this shortly after with a number of crucial blocks, plus a gentle tap, to halt a Sailor run and bring Summit back to 7-7.

The Tigers then had three straight kills to take the momentum and a 17-12 lead, causing Steamboat to call a timeout.

Senior Michelle Frias kept the Tigers rolling after with a beautifully placed joust that fell into a rarely empty Steamboat court.

“When they can swallow their pride and go for kills like that, you know we’re in a good spot,” Summit head coach Liz Hughes said.

However, the Sailors from landlocked Routt County wouldn’t go down so easy. Capitalizing on a number of Tiger blunders, Steamboat brought their lead to 23-22, which forced a Tiger timeout. It seemed that Steamboat could handle almost any spike with a return dig, but Summit was relentless, bringing the score to 25-25.

Fans were sitting at the edge of their seats as the draw increased to 26-26. But the exhilarating set came to a conclusion in heartbreaking fashion for the Tigers, losing the final two serves and the set, 28-26.

Set three

The third set was no different from the first two, with extremely close play and long rallies throughout. Kent got Summit on the board with a flawless tap, and the team rode her play to an 8-3 lead.

“Sage Kent… played out of her mind, and when she’s on, we’re on,” Hughes said.

Steamboat responded, going on a 4-0 run to reduce their deficit to 8-7. Summit senior Emily Wallace had a key block to put the Tigers up 14-11.

It seemed that this momentum would propel the Tigers through the set, but not so. The Sailors followed with a 9-1 run to go up 20-15.

The Tigers looked tired, but their hearts were not. A big spike from Dodson brought the Tigers to within two points, then they tied it 23-23. The tie ended in heartbreaking fashion again with an uncontested ace from the Sailors, 25-23.

Set four

After a rough start, Summit took a 6-5 lead. Key blocks from Dodson and Zangari then propelled Summit to 16-11.

On the next serve, an over-the-net infraction from Dodson halted the Summit run. The score was 18-16 Summit, and it seemed whoever took the momentum from this point on would win the set.

The teams traded kills for a while, but after a valiant Summit rally, Steamboat took the last set 25-23 to earn the match win. In the end, small mistakes at clutch times made the difference.

“It was kind of our simple, mild mistakes that brought us down just a little bit, enough for them to take us,” Wallace said.

If there is such a thing as a quality loss though, this was it, played against the best team in the 4A Western Slope.

“I don’t think this is the best this team can be, and that’s kind of cool,” Hughes said. “They have so much potential.”

Summit will return to the court Oct. 8 against Rifle (1-10).

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