Volleycats fight for first win of season

Ignacio’s Morgan Herrera (15) reaches out for a one-handed denial of Norwood’s Paige Franklin (21) inside IHS Gymnasium Saturday, Sept. 9.
Ignacio’s Marisa Carmenoros (5) takes a swing against Norwood inside IHS Gymnasium on Saturday, Sept. 9, with NHS’ Jenna Baugh (7) defending.
Ignacio’s Makayla Howell rises for a spike over Norwood’s Paige Franklin (21) and Jaida Baugh (9) inside IHS Gymnasium on Saturday, Sept. 9.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Trumped by mistakes and Telluride’s unexpected service-line prowess – yielding two eight-point stretches in the deciding third game alone – Ignacio desperately needed to regroup and reinforce a belief in each other before facing a new-look Norwood in the second of their two varsity matches on Saturday, Sept. 9.

“With the team, like… If the team is getting down, or one person on the team’s getting down, it kind of brings everyone down,” said senior Caitlyn Mulcahy. “So we were all building … each other up, building energy.”

How much was generated would be something the Lady Mavericks came ready to test; behind senior Cortney Lemon’s serving, NHS raced out to a 5-1 lead in Game 1 before IHS at last clawed back and tied at 8-8 via an ace by sophomore Morgan Herrera and successful joust by classmate Makayla Howell.

After a brief back-and-forth ended with the guests up 15-14, the Volleycats – who entered the match as the top ‘Others Receiving Votes’ team in the CHSAANow.com Class 2A poll, prior to their 18-25, 23-25, 12-25 loss to THS – managed to build a 20-16 lead, helped by two unplayable serves by junior Misty Egger-Morris and two of Herrera’s team-high eight kills.

Norwood, however, rallied right back and took a brief 22-21 lead after Howell hit a ball long. Howell came right back with a spike and Ignacio would soon go up 24-23 when Herrera stuffed senior Jaida Baugh at the strings. A Mulcahy net violation pulled the Lady Mavs level, but the home team would prevail by scoring on a NHS passing error and a netted attack by NHS freshman Paige Franklin.

The visitors again started fast in Game 2, winning three of the first four points, before Ignacio took the lead for good, 5-4, via a roll shot by setter Marisa Carmenoros – inserted at the position by head coach Thad Cano to allow incumbent Shoshone Thompson to don a libero jersey and shore up the back row.

She would total nine digs in the more defensive role–two more than Herrera, four more than both Egger-Morris and Kiana Valdez, and five more than Howell. Offensively, Carmenoros logged 15 assists.

“It wasn’t, like, a surprise to the team but it really wasn’t ‘planned’ either,” Mulcahy (4 kills, 3 aces) said. “We always experiment with the lineup – see who’s going in … best for the team and the play.”

Keeping Howell on serve for a key five-point run, Mulcahy smacked a kill to increase the lead to 13-8. Howell (2 kills) followed with an ace, and after Lemon lashed a shot wide, landed another – she totaled four, equaling Egger-Morris and Carmenoros – for a 16-8 advantage Norwood couldn’t overcome.

NHS’ Wyn Burroughs served into the net, bringing up game point for the ’Cats at 24-16, and Franklin then couldn’t scramble back into her team’s court after crossing the center line under the net in pursuit of a ball – giving IHS a nine-point win.

Game 3 went to the guests, 25-17, though the Volleycats – who lost the lead for good at 10-9 – fought back to come as close as 18-16 on an Egger-Morris ace. Having already lost 3-1 (16-25, 25-27, 25-14, 19-25) two days earlier to Dove Creek, Ignacio simply refused to not only lose a third consecutive 2A/1A San Juan Basin League match, but lose a third straight match of any kind on their own floor.

Racing out to a 5-0 lead in Game 4 against Norwood, the ’Cats reached double figures at 10-6, and gradually separated until a Lemon roll sailed long, bringing up match point for IHS at 24-18. A netted swing by Lady Maverick senior Megan Browning then brought the match to a close.

“The game against Telluride was really not our best; we definitely could have done better,” said Mulcahy, informed the Lady Miners had actually been missing starting setter Sydney Evans and starting middle Jessica Pack. “But this game was good; we tried our hardest and pushed, battled for the victory.”

Up next, Ignacio (1-3, 1-2 SJBL) will host Ouray and Ridgway on Saturday, Sept. 16, then visit Mancos on the 21st. Results from IHS’ 9/14 match versus Dolores were unavailable at press time.

“We’ll probably just do like what we did today: Just … make sure that we’re all very supportive of each other, very ready to get out and play and fight!” stated Mulcahy.

Norwood, which elected not to play Telluride on what was a neutral floor for both varsities, dropped to 3-5, 1-2, while the Lady Miners left town having improved to 5-1, 1-1.

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