Volleycat gains All-State shine

Ignacio's Cloe Seibel
Ignacio's Cloe Seibel
Ignacio's Cloe Seibel (0) and her teammates of the victorious 2A-Blue team, after a defeat of the 2A-Red at the 2013 Colorado Coaches of Girls' Sports All-State Match on Nov. 17 up at Arvada West High School. Her teammates included (standing, L to R) Kendra Hart, Sargent; Keturah Tatum, Limon; Connie Olson, Parker Lutheran; Jacki Sallee, Fowler; Jessica Fritz, Mosca Sangre de Cristo; (kneeling, L to R) Moriah Shields, Fowler; Brett Smith, Simla; Lindsey Moss, Fowler.
With Mosca Sangre de Cristo's Jessica Fritz (23) backing her up, Ignacio's Cloe Seibel (0) comes up with a dig during the 2013 Colorado Coaches of Girls' Sports All-State Class 2A Match, Nov. 17 up at Arvada West High School.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Her ace came one point too early; if its timing could only have been predicted and adjusted, Cloe Seibel would have ended her prep-level volleyball days with the next-best thing to a booming kill shot.

“Not many people in my area have gotten this far,” she said of the gem, which baffled Greeley Dayspring Christian’s Emily Kurz and put her team on match point, 24-16, “so just serve it for them!”

But the Ignacio senior’s un-returnable offering late in the Sunday, Nov. 17 Colorado Coaches of Girls’ Sports All-State Volleyball Match, played up at Arvada West High School, still kept her at the service line, needing to simply swat – and keep – the sphere in bounds once more to all but clinch victory for the Class 2A-Blue.

Seconds later and just a couple steps nearer the net, Seibel’s shout blended with those of her one-time-only teammates as the win over the 2A-Red was made official: 25-18, 25-18, 25-16.

“I was thinking … being relaxed, ‘Just play!’” she said. “My last time to play volleyball as a high-school player … just give it my all.”

“I was surprised at how quickly we meshed,” echoed Limon’s Keturah Tatum. “Yesterday during practice it went well, and then today we just went out and did what we knew how to do. It was amazing!”

With Seibel playing primarily in the back row for Fowler’s Sandy Moss and Sargent’s Randi Asbell, coming up with a couple digs but also a high serve-receive percentage, Game 1 went into history on a hitting error by Meeker’s Aly Ridings after a tough serve by Tatum. And with Fowler’s Lindsey Moss on serve for a quick 5-0 start to Game 2, 2A-Red was forced to play from behind and could not recover.

Their best chance to prolong the contest came Game 3, as they fought to a 12-12 tie before the Blues began pulling away, with Seibel gaining the serve – for good, as it turned out – at 22-16.

“A lot of stress was off, you know. In practice I was a setter, but my shoulder … I have an AC separation, and it was just bugging me. [Moss] asked if I wanted to be a libero for her team because I was a great passer, and I wanted to,” said Seibel, named First Team All-San Juan Basin League for 2013.

“And if I ever wanted to play in college it would be at libero or [defensive specialist], where I would prefer. It was so much fun. I never get to pass in the season, so it was really fun to be different!”

“It’s awesome,” Tatum said. “You know, if I play anything else it’ll be at different levels. And it was just exciting to see the different talent, how each team was made. Our team … it was nice.”

Completing Ignacio’s postseason awards, senior Angela Herrera – a top alternate for the CCGS event in case of injury or unavailability – was one of three Honorable Mention All-SJBL honorees.

Dove Creek’s Scott Knuckles was named Coach of the Year, after the Lady Bulldogs’ spectacular 26-1 campaign ending with a semifinals loss to eventual Class 1A State Champions Fleming inside the Denver Coliseum. Dove Creek did conquer Pool I in the capital city before bowing out, however, with victories over Kit Carson (16-10) and Edwards-based Vail Christian (19-7).

Fowler (27-3) defeated Iliff Caliche (26-3) in the 2013 grand finale – 19-25, 25-22, 25-22 and 25-21 – but Knuckles and assistant Jody Gardner were given the honor of skippering, with Flagler’s Pam Fagerlund (still adding to her Colorado-best career wins total), the 1A-Blue side at the CCGS showcase.

And with First Team All-SJBL picks Shelbie Knuckles and Madison Young anchoring his one-off roster – Kristin Knuckles was also named First Team, but was not chosen to travel to Arvada – a 25-18, 25-18, 25-13 victory was produced.

Finishing 20-6 under Tracy Hill and Amy Rutherford, Ridgway’s amazing, youth-driven run – powered by sophomore Kaitlyn Rutherford and freshman setter Ara Norwood, both First Teamers – into the 2A State Championships ended with losses to Meeker (19-8) and Loveland Resurrection Christian (29-0), which went on to sweep Parker Lutheran (25-3) to earn the Gold Ball.

Dolores’ trio of Courtney Blackmer, Elana Bernholtz and Larissa Umberger earned First Team All-SJBL nods, as did Norwood’s Jordan Williams, Telluride’s Erin Kean and Mancos’ Jessica Wilburn. NHS’ Makayla Gordon and Ouray’s Jackie Saunders were the other Honorable Mention choices.

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