Volleycats take one of final week’s three

Ignacio’s Lexy Young (8) blocks Ridgway’s Emily Medina (10) during season-ending road action Saturday afternoon, April 24. The Volleycats’ Spring 2021 campaign concluded with a 21-25, 26-28, 25-21, 15-25 loss to the Lady Demons.
Ignacio’s Marisa Carmenoros (5) stuffs down the tip shot of Mancos’ Jessie Wallace (3) during late-season road action at MHS Thursday night, April 22. The Volleycats defeated the Lady Jays 25-16, 25-19, 27-25 for what would end up being their final conquest of the Spring 2021 season.
Ignacio’s Grace Gonzales (10) seemingly sky-walks into a kill shot during season-ending road action at Ridgway Saturday afternoon, April 24. The Volleycats’ Spring 2021 campaign concluded with a 21-25, 26-28, 25-21, 15-25 loss to the Lady Demons.
Ignacio’s Ebonee Gomez (center) decides, with parents Geneva and Kenneth, what to do with multiple Senior Day presents during a pre-match salute Tuesday, April 20, inside the Ignacio High School Gymnasium. Still benched by a well-known basketball injury, Gomez – one of IHS’ libero/defensive specialist players last season – continued with the Volleycats in Spring ’21 as a manager.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Last Spring 2021 win comes at Mancos

Having visited Telluride the night before for a quickly-arranged THS Senior Night match – one having no bearing on the 2A/1A San Juan Basin League standings; the teams’ home-and-home had long been completed – which the Lady Miners claimed 25-19, 25-21 and 25-18. Ridgway’s players obviously sought similar swan-song magic for themselves as they then hosted Ignacio Saturday afternoon, April 24.

And with the Volleycats minus two pieces of their complex 6-2 offensive puzzle, RHS managed to not only send a class of six towards graduation with one final volleyball victory – by a 25-21, 28-26, 21-25, 25-15 result – to their collective name, but also salvage a .500 record from the COVID-compressed Spring 2021 campaign.

“Coming in cold, learning how to work together … this schedule really took a hit on a lot of our players,” IHS head coach Melanie Seibel had previously said, prior to a season-ending week also including an April 20 Senior Day home test versus SJBL force Dolores and a 4/22 trip to nothing-to-lose Mancos. “It sure did.”

“And we’ve found out we’ve got to play hard, work together and … have ‘no mercy,’” explained Seibel. 

Regretfully, too much charity was given to the motivated Lady Demons early on and the ’Cats – coming in off a 25-16, 25-19, 27-25 sweep of MHS – never really recovered, save for a Game 3 win in which Ignacio erased a 17-13 deficit and soon went on a deciding 6-1 run capped by a Trinity Strohl kill plus two subsequent un-returnable Strohl serves.

But after wresting a shaky 6-4 lead away from Ridgway in Game 4, IHS would get no nearer to triumph – or at least a tiebreaking Game 5 – than 9-9 via junior Alexis Pontine’s stuff of RHS senior Shelby Sisler. Ignacio’s ensuing serve sailed out of bounds, Lady Demon senior Emma Berwanger then scored with a block on Strohl, and Sisler followed with a successful set dump.

The ’Cats then lost another point due to a net violation, and another when senior JV call-up Emily Cundiff smacked long a potential kill. Lady Demon senior Cass Rikkers then gave the guests a brief break when she netted a serve, but a Sisler kill then restarted the home team on what would be a devastating 7-0 spree – all but putting RHS, up 21-10 at that time, in the clear.

A Pontine ace of Berwanger brought Ignacio back to 23-14, and an oddly un-passable Laci Brunson free ball kept the ’Cats within nine, 24-15, but junior Lexy Young then served long with IHS needing a miracle.

“They did show up and work hard,” said Seibel, whose program will also lose six seniors, counting Ridgway match-day scratches Marisa Carmenoros and Vanessa Gonzales, plus inactive JV/V ‘swinger’ Jazmin Carmenoros as well as long-injured libero-turned-team manager Ebonee Gomez. “But we had to reorganize our players [from] our first [match] against them, come with a different lineup.”

Sophomore Grace Gonzales finished with 12 kills against eight errors in 39 total attacks for a .077 percentage; IHS, unfortunately, finished -.031 as a team. Strohl, also a sophomore, managed eight kills at a break-even .000 clip, and Pontine officially downed four at .000 while logging 22 assists as Ignacio’s sole setter and also totaling a team-high six aces.

Inexplicably bookending IHS’ Game 1 setback, two Pontine service-line misfires were amongst the Volleycats’ alarming eight helping gift RHS the opener – though the ’Cats crept back to as close as 21-20, apparently having survived an earlier 8-0 Ridgway blast which put the Lady Demons up 14-7.

Neither side led by more than two points in Game 2 until RHS reached 24-21 via senior Jenna Brown’s ace of Brunson. But a Gonzales kill, plus a Rikkers hitting error, a botched serve reception by Lady Demon junior Bella Janda, and a perfect Young ace to the opposite corner put the ’Cats ahead 25-24.

After matters then levelled at 25-25 and 26-26 (the 19th and 20th ties-of-score in Game 2 alone), Ridgway would take a 2-0 lead in the match via a Gonzales serve long and a Pontine netted pass on a play where Brown appeared to first double-touch a free ball – the relieved ‘OOOOOOH!’ emanating from RHS’ own student section was rather indicative – ultimately destined for a shocked and ill-prepared Pontine.

Defensively, Gonzales’ 16 digs in defeat not only equaled Pontine’s team-high but gave her a double-double. Brunson, a sophomore, also breached double digits with ten ups from her libero position, and savored an unexpected cameo role on offense in dishing out five assists. Strohl – who, like Young, served four aces – logged eight digs and senior Charlize Valdez five.

Statistics for Ridgway had not been fully tallied as of press time; the Lady Demons finished 7-7 overall, 7-6 against all SJBL opposition, and a third-place 4-4 against the league’s 2A members. Leapfrogged on that ladder by the girls in green, Ignacio compiled a fourth-place 3-5 mark, but finished 6-5 against all league resistance while ending up 6-7 overall.

ADDITIONALLY

At Mancos, Pontine registered a 12-kill, 14-dig, 15-assist triple-double, with eight aces nearly completing a rare quad. Setting companion Marisa Carmenoros booked 14 assists, eight digs, four kills and four aces. Valdez and Grace Gonzales each spiked six kills and each also came up with a half-dozen digs, while Brunson (3 assists) came up with 13.

Posting a 21-assist, 14-kill, 10-dig triple-double, Pontine was again one of many bright spots for IHS in a 22-25, 26-24, 22-25, 27-25, 11-15 loss to Dolores. Carmenoros amassed 15 assists and 12 digs, while Gonzales totaled eight kills and 13 digs – that number trailing only Brunson’s team-high 15 – and Young six kills.

POSTSEASON FATES

Telluride’s season came to an end Saturday, May 1, with a 3-1 loss to Vail Mountain and a 3-0 loss to Holyoke at the VM-hosted 2A-Region VIII Championships. Dolores, meanwhile, qualified for the Region VI meet held in nearby Edwards, but lost 3-0 to tourney-hosting Vail Christian and then 3-0 to Del Norte.

On the 1A side of things, Dove Creek’s State dreams were dashed in the 1A-Region V Championships. After defeating Vilas-based South Baca County in four, the Lady Bulldogs (6-0 1A SJBL, 10-0 2A/1A SJBL, 12-3 overall) then fell in three to Joes-based Stratton/Liberty.

Girls Volleyball Final 2A SJBL Standings

  1. Dolores 7-1 (10-2 2A/1A SJBL, 10-6 overall)
  2. Telluride 6-2 (9-3 2A/1A SJBL, 11-5 overall)
  3. Ridgway 4-4 (7-6 2A/1A SJBL, 7-7 overall)
  4. IGNACIO 3-5 (6-5 2A/1A SJBL, 6-7 overall)
  5. Mancos 0-8 (2-10 2A/1A SJBL, 2-11 overall)

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