Tip drill: Palisade volleyball team uses strong net play to reverse prior defeat to Steamboat Spring
The Palisade High School volleyball team learned a thing or two in its three-game loss at Steamboat Springs three weeks ago.
The Sailors have a couple of solid front-row blockers.
To counter that, the Bulldogs went to a different maneuver on Thursday. They tipped the ball over the Steamboat front row.
The ploy worked as Palisade took a 25-20, 25-15, 23-25, 25-22 victory.
The match was Palisade’s annual Girls Night Out competition in commemoration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with Palisade’s players wearing pink jerseys and each player dedicating the match to a different person.
After trailing for much of the first game, including 14-18, the Bulldogs (13-5, 10-3 Western Slope League) rallied behind the tip to take the lead at 20-19 and pull away.
Jenny Thibodeau and Morgan Reynolds combined for tips at the net to key the rally.
“(Tipping) is one thing that worked for us the first time we played them,” said Reynolds, an outside hitter.
Or, as Palisade coach Wendy MacAskill told her players during the week, “It doesn’t matter how it gets to the floor, it’s still a point for us.”
Not that the tip drill was the Bulldogs’ only weapon.
Audrey Steinkirchner has been Palisade’s big hitter for most of the season. Thursday night, it was Reynolds’ turn.
“Something we talked about (playing the league schedule) the second time through is, you’ve got to do something different,” MacAskill said.
Reynolds responded with a match-high 24 kills.
“She had a great match,” MacAskill said.
“We had to learn to work around them,” Reynolds said of avoiding the blocks by 6-foot-1 Sailors front-liner Colleen King and her 5-11 teammate, Devin Wilkinson.
Not that Reynold didn’t do her job on the defensive end, too.She was second on the team in digs Thursday with 11.
Steinkirchner, who finished with 14 kills, had two of them to close out the second game.
Palisade had a chance to sweep the match, leading 22-18 and 23-21 in the third game, but a couple of service errors and some kills by King and Wilkinson allowed the Sailors to pull it out down the stretch.
King finished with 12 kills to lead Steamboat.
Reynolds had a tip to put the Bulldogs to within match point, then got the final kill for the victory.
After splitting with Steamboat last year and losing to them in Steamboat earlier this month, “One of our goals this week was to beat them,” Reynolds said.
It was the fourth straight victory for the Bulldogs and left them with a 5-1 mark at home this season.
The victory put Palisade and Steamboat in a tie for second place in the league behind Eagle Valley.
Steamboat closes out the regular season tonight at Delta and Palisade host Moffat County in its regular-season finale.