Thu Jun 21st, 2018
Special to the Drum
Postseason showcases tend to feature unusual pairings, and graduated Ignacio Volleycat Shoshone Thompson had only to spy her Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State Games mentors before practice at the event even started to scratch her head in disbelief.
Seeing 3A La Jara Centauri’s Candace Shaw was one thing; IHS had faced the Lady Falcons, guided by the former 3A Bayfield player, a couple times in recent years. But helming the select squad was none other than Gina Hollen of 2A/1A San Juan Basin League nemesis Dolores.
“That was really strange at first, seeing them!” Thompson admitted. “But they’re really good coaches; they push us and they’re all about having fun but also being competitive as well. So it was really neat meeting both of them and actually having a personal connection, instead of just seeing each other on the court.”
Utilized as both a setter and back-row player during the four-team, four-match tournament inside Adams State University Fieldhouse on Saturday, June 9, Thompson and Red defeated the Blue crew 20-25, 25-14, 15-11 to save third place after falling 25-21, 21-25, 10-15 to White in the first semifinal.
“We were all really excited, especially to play the White team because they were a little more competitive,” said Thompson [the White roster included 2A Hoehne’s ASU-bound middle Shaelyn Walton, 2A Simla’s Otero Junior College-bound outside hitter Jerraldawn Rector, and 3A Brighton Eagle Ridge Academy’s Peru, Neb., State College-bound setter Alexis Cox]. “But we were all excited to get on the court and just play our favorite game.”
Black would defeat Blue 21-25, 25-21, 15-12 in the second semi to reach the championship match, where White again proved too tough to take down and prevailed 25-21, 24-26, 15-11.
“As a whole it was really amazing, you know?” said Thompson. “There’s a lot of different girls from different school sizes; it’s really neat to play with others that have different levels of experience. Our team bonded really fast…so that was really cool.”
Thompson said that traveling to play in the Down Under Games earlier in her IHS career definitely helped quicken that important process.
“When you’re thrown together—a bunch of girls who don’t know each other—sometimes you have to…just be outspoken, try to really, really connect with your team,” she said. “I had to do that in Australia, and…here, it was a lot easier with the communication, being loud and everything. So it really helped out.”
For the Games, Thompson’s teammates were: Taynin Abbott (libero, 3A Arvada Faith Christian), Rachel Kusbel (outside hitter, 4A Longmont), McKensie Penkoff (outside hitter, 2A Westcliffe Custer County), Emily Hanenberg (middle, 4A Pueblo West), Allie Nidey (outside hitter, 1A McClave), Sydney Ritschard (outside hitter, 2A Kremmling West Grand), Delaney St. Pierre (setter, 5A Colorado Springs Coronado), and Sarah Stevelinck (libero, 2A Lyons).