Ignacio simply superlative in Simla!

The Ignacio Volleycats mug for fans after defeating Hoehne 3 games to 1 in the varsity-division championship of the 2015 Simla Invitational, played Sept. 26. Ranked No. 10 in Class 2A before the event, IHS moved up to No. 7 in the CHSAANow.com poll after exiting Elbert County three times victorious, including a 5-gamer over then-#6 (and previously unbeaten) Rye. Standing, L to R: Payton Lyon, Miel Diaz, Kelly Campbell, Alex Forsythe, Shoshone Thompson, head coach Thad Cano. Kneeling, L to R: Ellie Seibel, Chrystianne Valdez, Avionne Gomez.
Ignacio’s Shoshone Thompson (14) punches a ball over the net as Rye’s Taylor Benedict (8) observes during varsity pool-play action at the 2015 Simla Invitational. The Volleycats dealt the Lady Thunderbolts their first loss this season, prevailing 3 games to 2.
Ignacio’s Ellie Seibel (12) rejects Vail Mountain’s Holly Parker (8) during varsity pool-play action at the 2015 Simla Invitational.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

The ironic thing was that the previous weekend, she’d reportedly hit a ball even harder.

That smash Saturday, Sept. 19 in Ridgway, however, didn’t claim a victim: Feet failing, knees buckling, eyes undoubtedly watering after seeing the bullet all too well … Brooke Drury’s slow-motion collapse to the court, resulting from a concussive, close-range Kelly Campbell spike, not only generated crowd reactions loudening with each of the Rye junior’s stunned staggerings, but also visibly served as the moment Ignacio became contenders to take the Sept. 26, 2015, Simla Invitational.

“I don’t know; I was just focusing on trying to make a clean kill and not hitting the tape. And it ended up going in her face … it was really exciting,” said Campbell, a junior middle. “Definitely a game-changer for us.”

And ultimately, neither the No. 6-ranked [CHSAANow.com Class 2A poll, 9/21] Lady Thunderbolts nor any of the day-long event’s other four teams could find a way to stop the Volleycats from receiving the championship shirts from impressed SHS skipper Sue Snyder (whose Lady Cubs defeated RHS in last year’s finale).

After a thorough 25-18, 25-13, 25-15 rout of Vail Mountain, sparked by junior Alex Forsythe’s lengthy stay on serve after VMS called timeout down just 12-10 in game one, IHS could have weakened out in rural Elbert County after outlasting Rye 25-21, 23-25, 27-29, 25-20, 15-12.

“Our serves kept us in,” senior Ellie Seibel said. “And just finding it within to perform our best. I mean, we were running on fumes pretty much this entire day – I know I didn’t get any sleep last night – and we were … running on what we had left.”

“Yeah we definitely got a little tired and down,” agreed Forsythe. “But after that one was over, we just found a way to bring our energy up together … just bonded as a team.”

And rallied from an exhausted game two loss to Hoehne in the championship to finish – by scores of 25-23, 19-25, 25-21, 25-20 – the Lady Farmers off with a wire-to-wire win, nailed down by a Forsythe kill, in game four after never losing the lead since going up 14-13 in game three.

“It was all just a mental game,” Forsythe said. “You know, just really good placement for serving – we didn’t have to have hard serves, but just really great placement – and same with hitting … if the set was great, we could pound it. And if not, take a little bit off and place it.”

“We have to show that we’re not going to let up to any team,” Seibel stated.

Rye (10-1 overall) regrouped from their season’s first loss to down Wray (5-6), 3 to 1, in the third-place match and Simla (5-5) salvaged some hometown pride with a shutout of Vail Mountain (3-7) for fifth.

HHS dipped to 5-6, while Ignacio – already 3-0 in the 2A/1A San Juan Basin League – moved to 6-2. Full statistics, however, hadn’t been finalized as of press time.

Before departing home, and returning confident for Homecoming Week action Thursday, Oct. 1 versus SJBL rivals Telluride, the Cats – ranked tenth before the Invitational, seventh in the Sept. 28 poll after – all seemed to believe the tournament’s dividends will be seen not only in the present, but a desired future.

“Goodness, I know that I was tired! Like, I almost fell asleep when I was sitting down! Because between our matches we ate, and … it was kind of rough coming out and trying to have as much energy as we did this morning,” Campbell said.

“This is definitely preparing us,” she continued. “Coach told us that this is a lot like State – there’s a lot of games, ‘You guys are going to be really tired’ – and we just have to dig deep, find our energy and pull out a win.”

“This will just help us get better once we get to that State Tournament,” Seibel said.

Here’s hoping that indeed it’s only a matter of ‘when,’ not ‘if.’

Results from the THS test were unavailable at press time. Looking ahead, IHS plays a SJBL triangular at Dolores versus DHS and Nucla on Oct. 3, then hosts 3A La Jara Centauri on Oct. 8 and Ridgway on Oct. 10. RHS was the top ‘Receiving Votes’ team in the 9/28 Class 2A rankings.

 

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