Ignacio sweeps Norwood in home finale

Following Ignacio’s Oct. 19 match versus Dove Creek, Volleycat junior Makayla Howell gives flowers and a hug to Trish Quintana, one of several survivors saluted inside IHS Gymnasium during a special National Breast Cancer Awareness Month ceremony.
Ignacio sophomore Marisa Carmenoros (5) attempts to set with Norwood’s Morgan Wallace defending during action Saturday, Oct. 20, inside the IHS Gymnasium.
Ignacio sophomore libero Ebonee Gomez (47) hurries to keep a ball in play Friday, Oct. 19, versus Dove Creek inside IHS Gymnasium, as Lady Bulldog Taylor Hickman (3) observes. The match was officially designated the Volleycats’ National Breast Cancer Awareness Month contest.
Ignacio senior Kiana Valdez (2) blocks Dove Creek standout Cassie Gatlin (13) during action Friday, Oct. 19, inside IHS Gymnasium. The match was officially designated the Volleycats’ National Breast Cancer Awareness Month contest.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Ten IHS seniors victorious on Senior Day

Three consecutive Makayla Howell kill shots gave Ignacio the momentum needed to hold off gritty Norwood – which had held leads late in each of the teams’ three 2A/1A San Juan Basin League games Saturday, Oct. 20 – and clinch one last home win for an incredible ten seniors.

Most importantly to all Volleycats, however, was the fact that the match wasn’t a repeat of the previous night’s marathon stunner over then-#10 [CHSAANow.com Class 1A poll, 10/15] Dove Creek.

“Hitting all those ‘slides’ made me tired!” Howell said, following an exhausting 20-25, 25-20, 21-25, 27-25, 15-12 victory finalized by a Howell ace, a roll shot into space by freshman Alexis Pontine, and a crushing cross-court finish to the deep corner by senior Amethyst ‘Misty’ Egger-Morris.

Not wanting to blend fatigue with emotion too close to the next afternoon’s visit from NHS, head coach Thad Cano chose to have his seniors – Kiana Valdez, Egger-Morris, Reyna Cruz, Rosaleigh ‘Rosie’ Concepcion, Heather Kerrigan, Fernanda Tavares, Izabella Howe, Divine Windy Boy, Briana Duran, Samara O’John – recognized between the C-team’s and junior varsity’s matches rather than prior to varsity play.

Which wasn’t a bad idea; both squads prevailed, with Katrina Richards’ C-team pulling out an 8-25, 25-17, 15-12 win and Shasta Pontine’s JV victorious by scores of 25-13 and 25-19, with several JV/V ‘swing’ seniors taking advantage of the extra ‘warm-up’ chance before donning their white varsity jerseys.

But despite coming in an unassuming 3-14 overall, the Lady Mavericks, playing the role of a counterpuncher in the bout, managed to take a 14-9 lead in Game 1 before surrendering the next five points with Kerrigan on serve.

A Pontine ace put the ’Cats up 19-17, and IHS would win 25-20 when Norwood’s McKayla Fleming eagerly smashed an Ignacio over-pass a little too long and out of bounds.

The ’Cats raced out to a 4-0 lead in Game 2, with Kerrigan landing another ace and Valdez a clever two-handed dink just over the near-side antenna. But NHS quickly pulled even at 5-all, and again the back-and-forth resumed, with a Valdez ace re-tying the score at 15-15. The Lady Mavs then made a credible move, and forced Cano into taking a timeout down 19-16 after an ace by NHS’ Jenna Baugh.

But behind Kerrigan’s off-the-bench serving, IHS rallied to go up 23-20 with Baugh netting a back-row kill attempt, and 24-20 when Kerrigan smacked a cruel ace through the top of the net.  Norwood’s Jesseca Padgett then sent a spike long on game point, and Ignacio led the match 2-0.

The Volleycat seniors truly came out shining in Game 3, with Egger-Morris beginning things with a scoring stuff-block, Kerrigan firing an ace, and Valdez placing a roll shot for a swift 3-0 advantage.  But when it appeared IHS would separate decisively, NHS closed to 14-11 and Cano alertly paused play.

He’d have to do so again when a netted Valdez attack, resulting from a lengthy rally similar to several witnessed against DCHS (a match which surpassed the two-hour mark), tied the battle at 18-18. The visitors would then take a brief 19-18 lead before Valdez found an equalizing kill before Howell – whose blocking against Dove Creek’s big hitters was just as crucial as her offense – put IHS ahead 22-21 with the aforementioned three consecutive putaways.

Lady Maverick skipper Ramona Rummel wasted no time in calling a timeout, but Valdez responded with a clutch ace.  A Norwood passing error then brought up match point, 24-21, and there was no doubting Howell, still just a junior, would sew up the sweep with one super, send-off spike.

Ignacio improved to 7-12 overall with the win, giving the ’Cats five wins in their last six outings.  Requests for official statistics from both teams were still unanswered as of press time Monday afternoon, Oct. 22.

With CHSAA having decided to phase out the postseason district tournaments in Class 2A (as had already been done in 3A-5A, but remains in effect for 1A – including 1A-District 1 reps Dove Creek and Norwood), allowing teams more regular-season matches too boost their RPI status prior to regionals, the Volleycats will next compete at the Oct. 26-27 Rye Invitational.

Known opponents will be the hosting Lady Thunderbolts – up a spot to #6 in the 10/22 CHSAANow.com 2A poll – on the first night, plus 2A Sanford (also well over .500 this season) and 3A Trinidad the next day.

Results from IHS’ 10/23 trip to 3A Montezuma-Cortez were unavailable at press time.

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