Fri Sep 29th, 2017
Robert L. Ortiz
The Southern Ute Drum
A postseason sneak-peek: Thad Cano’s Volleycats met stiff resistance at the six-team Simla Invitational, Sept. 23 out in far-off Elbert County.
With action commencing barely 36 full hours after Ignacio’s 25-21, 19-25, 25-17, 25-14 road win at Mancos, the team had the unlucky fate of facing the tournament hosts bright and early. As one of three teams ranked in that week’s CHSAANow.com Class 2A top-ten, the #5 Lady Cubs efficiently dealt IHS an 18-25, 13-25, 13-25 defeat.
Sophomore Morgan Herrera was credited with six kills, and classmate Makayla Howell five for Ignacio, while SHS senior Jerraldawn Rector smashed a match-best 17 and had support from juniors Kegan Hamacher (8) and Riley Maranville (8).
Senior setter Shoshone Thompson registered four kills and 12 assists for IHS, while Simla counterpart Chloe Duffy, also a senior, distributed 32 assists.
The ’Cats then concluded pool play the right way, stopping Oak Creek Soroco –the only crew not either ranked in the poll or in its ‘Others Receiving Votes’ section –in a 25-15, 17-25, 25-20, 17-25, 16-14 thriller.
Stepping her game up a level, junior Kiana Valdez paced Ignacio with 11 kills. Herrera was right behind with ten, Howell followed with nine, and senior Caitlyn Mulcahy eight as Thompson logged 31 assists. Defensively, Howell came up with eight digs –one of five players with five or more (Herrera and junior Misty Egger-Morris each booked six) –and Valdez posted three solo blocks.
But as fate would have it, Ignacio drew eighth-ranked Hoehne in the resulting third-place match. Having qualified along with Simla for last fall’s State Championships in Denver, the Lady Farmers (8-3 overall) increased their pace after a 3-1 win over Wray and logged a 25-14, 25-18, 25-8 triumph.
Herrera managed six more kills and Howell four, while Thompson served five aces to go with 12 assists. Howell came up with seven more digs, but Mulcahy and Herrera recorded just three apiece while Valdez –fast becoming a fixture in the Volleycats’ middle –was limited to just two putaways offensively.
Requests made of Soroco skipper Jeannie Logan and HHS’ Tyrel Mincic-Barry for their teams’ statistics were still unanswered as of press time, as were requests of all head coaches for post-match comments.
Greeley-based and #3-ranked Dayspring Christian, reigning 2A State Champions and thus the third (of eight) State-bound teams last year attending the 2017 Invitational, improved to 9-1 and earned first place via a 13-25, 25-16, 18-25, 25-20, 15-12 grinder over Simla (10-2).
A ‘Receiving Votes’ bunch along with the ’Cats coming in, WHS rose to 3-5 overall via a 25-12, 25-11, 25-17 sweep of Soroco (4-9) in the fifth-place clash.
Up next, Ignacio (4-7, 3-4 2A/1A San Juan Basin League) resumes SJBL work with Nucla visiting IHS Gymnasium on Saturday, Sept. 30, with action set to begin at 11 a.m.
No stranger to a tough tournament, having finished 2-2 at the Northeastern Junior College assembly, Sept. 9 up in distant Sterling, the Lady Mustangs stood 3-7 overall, 1-4 in league prior to visiting non-league Collbran Plateau Valley on the 27th. Results were unavailable at press time.
IHS’ October itinerary then begins with a 10/3 trip to La Jara and test against 3A Centauri, with a 10/10 drive to SJBL nemesis Dolores – which cracked the 2A top-ten Monday morning, Sept. 25 – to follow. The ’Cats will then challenge both Norwood and Telluride in an Oct. 14 triangular at THS.
CHSAANOW.com Class 2A Volleycat Poll (updated 9/25)
1. Yuma, 2. Lyons, 3. Greeley Dayspring Christian, 4. Simla, 5. Swink, 6. Paonia, 7. Denver Christian, 8. Dolores, 9. Hoehne, 10. Wiggins.
(Others Receiving Votes – Meeker, Lafayette Dawson School, Fowler, IGNACIO, Walsenburg John Mall, Greeley Union Colony, Rocky Ford, Wray, Telluride.)