Fri Sep 20th, 2013
Special to the Drum
Tags: Alejandra Lujan, Amya Bison, Angela Herrera, Ashley Sutherlin, Bocats, Cheyenne Cook, Christa Kennedy, chrystianne valdez, ellie seibel, Ignacio, ignacio high school, Jordan Williams, Karla Martinez, Katelyn Randolph, Kelly Campbel, Lady Mavericks, Mariah Pardo, Mavericks, Miel Diaz, Norwood High School, san juan basin league, Telluride, Thad Cano, Volleycats
Following up an emphatic denial of Norwood’s Christa Kennedy with a kill shot of her own, giving Ignacio a 17-14 lead in Game 1, it appeared Amya Bison had at last injected the Volleycats with the fire for a first victory – something which had merely flickered and then faded the night before.
But errant serves by Angela Herrera and Chrystianne Valdez augmented NHS kills by Kennedy and Ashley Sutherlin, and at 18-all, the lead held by IHS since Norwood’s Jordan Williams smacked long the Sept. 14 match’s first serve was gone.
Showing the Lady Mavericks – somehow re-intensified after dropping a five-game thriller to Dolores in Norwood the night before, prior to the lengthy bus ride down from San Miguel County – more resiliency than in a 14-25, 21-25, 19-25 home loss to Telluride, Ignacio managed to re-tie the score at 19.
But a Bison serving error gave NHS the lead, a Cheyenne Cook netted serve put NHS at game point, and an unsuccessful Herrera attack gave NHS a 25-20 win – preceding a 25-18 victory in Game 2, and a clinching conquest in Game 3 to deny IHS a San Juan Basin League triumph over either opponent.
“Our serves could have been a lot better; normally … they go down. And our digs could have been better … and really, our hits could have been better,” Valdez had said after the loss to the Lady Miners, her words likely ringing true after also losing to the Lady Mavs. “We had a lot of things that we could have adjusted, and I think that we’ll be OK once we talk about it as a team.”
Telluride took control in Game 1 on consecutive kills by Leah Villaranda, giving her side an 8-6 lead which only seemed to grow until Bison served out of bounds with THS at point-14. And after Cook attacked wide to give the guests a 5-4 lead in Game 2, Villaranda followed with an ace and Erin Kean downed two kills to keep the Lady Miners in gear.
A Herrera kill brought the Cats back to 18-17, but Telluride interim head coach Fran Windsor alertly called timeout and IHS came no closer than 19-18 on a kill by Alejandra Lujan before Herrera sent a back-row attack long with THS at point-21.
Ignacio’s only Game 3 lead came at 4-3, via a netted Telluride pass, but Kean stuffed Bison to tie and Karla Martinez forced an ace through the tape to put the Lady Miners ahead – until she was harshly blocked by Volleycat setter Cloe Seibel, re-tying the count at 12-12.
Having led her program’s JV squad through its pre-match spike-digging drills, Kean again took charge with a back-row finish, Lujan and Herrera each mis-hit, and THS (3-0, 1-0 SJBL) was able to progressively separate until Lujan put a tip shot into the strings on match point.
“We have five new girls on the team who have never been on varsity before; we have a totally new team,” Kean said. “But I think we have a lot of potential, and we can make it.”
It was a sentiment familiar to the Volleycats as well: Head coach Thad Cano inserted JV libero Mariah Pardo into his varsity starting lineup against Telluride, replaced her with Bison against Norwood (4-4, 1-2) and first-year skipper Katelyn Randolph, and started newcomer Kelly Campbell in the middle against both – looking to discover extra energy with both Miel Diaz and Ellie Seibel sidelined.
“You’ve got to be creative,” Cano said. “But we should get those two back … and that’ll allow us to get back in a system again.”
“[Campbell’s] vertical is insane. She just gets blocks like no other, and she can get up there and crush the ball,” Valdez said. “And Mariah … definitely a good [defensive specialist] that we have, to be pulled up.
“We’re good at working through adversity though; over the summer we had a lot of injuries, and so we’re putting the pieces together,” Valdez said.
Ignacio (0-4, 0-3) traveled Tuesday, Sept. 17 to face Mancos – results were unavailable at press time – and will head north to Ridgway on Sept. 20 as league play continues.