Yuma High School’s volleyball season came to an end last Friday in the regional round.
The Indians won their first match in five sets over Rangely, but saw their season conclude with a three-set loss to third-seed Fowler, who advanced to the Class 2A State Tournament, Thursday through Saturday in Colorado Springs.
It snapped the YHS program’s streak of nine-straight state tournament appearances. The streak, which began in 2012, included two state championships and three runners-up.
“This season was a tester,” head coach Jenny Noble said. “We didn’t have many opponents who were pushovers, so in order to win, we had to bring our A-game every night, and that just didn’t happen. I think we learned a lot about how important it is to always be thinking ahead and the need to transfer knowledge from one area to another.”
Yuma finished with a 10-15 record.
The Indians made the long trip to Fowler, located east of Pueblo on Highway 50 in the Arkansas River valley, last Friday attempting to earn a state berth on a higher-seed’s homecourt for the third straight season.
They came one match win away from doing it again.
Yuma opened regional against a Rangley Panthers squad that first had lost in four sets to Fowler.
The teams seemed fairly-evenly matched, and it played out that way as Yuma gutted out a five-set tinw, 25-22, 21-25, 25-15, 20-25, 15-9.
The first set was close throughout. Neither team led by more than two points until Yuma scored three of the last four for the three-point win.
The second set saw Rangely take a 14-10 lead. Yuma battled back to tie it at 17 and 18 before taking a 20-19 lead. However, the Panthers ripped off six of the next seven points for the win.
Yuma came back with a strong effort in the third set. The Indians built leads of 12-8 and 17-11, only to see Rangely score four straight to make it 19-11. The Tribe then ripped off six straight for the win.
However, Rangely came back with its own dominating win, racing out to an 11-5 lead. Yuma tried to rally, cutting a 15-23 deficit to 20-24, but that was it.
The good, long volleys between the teams continued in the fifth set, but Yuma scored six straight for a 14-6 lead, then clinched the win after Rangely scored three straight.
“The Rangely game was a tester for us,” Noble said. “We’ve had a bunch of those this year. They were pretty scrappy and we had trouble putting the ball down. Once we decided to swing hard, we put the match away.”
Elle Roth had 19 kills, Caddis Robinson 13, Meidi Reyes six, Lea Richardson six, Alina Moran four, Jailyn Mekelburg four, and Lyndsey Mekelburg and Alejandra Barron one each. Richardson had 37 setting assists, ane Robinson and Roth four each. Roth was 22-23 serving with two aces, Emma Rayl 14-15 with one ace, Robinson 13-15 with one ace, Richardson 13-17 with two aces, Moran 12-12, Reyes 10-10 with one ace, barron 7-8 with one ace, and J. Mekelburg 4-5. Robinson was in on four total blocks. Roth came up with 41 digs. Roth, Rayl, Robinson and Richardson led in serve receive.
The win set up the Indians with a chance to return to the state tournament. However, it was not meant to be as they went down in three, 14-25, 12-25, 22-25.
The first set was close until Fowler ran off 10 straight points. The Grizzlies had another long stretch of points in the second set.
Yuma kept battling, though, holding several leads in the third set, including 19-16. However, the Grizzlies ran off seven straight for a 23-19 lead and that was pretty much it.
“They hit the ball hard and hit it where we weren’t, and that’s the name of the game,” Noble said. “It’s that type of game where you hope players rise up to the challenge and play with a sense of urgency. We just committed too many unforced errors. That’s been our downfall this season. I’d draw a comparison with Fowler and either Limon or Akron. Definitely beatable, but you gotta get after it to beat them.”
Roth had 10 kills, Robinson four, and Moran and Reyes two each. Richardson had 15 assists. Roth led in digs, and Rayl in serve receive. Reyes was 10-10 serving, L. Mekelburg 8-8 with one ace, Robinson 7-8 with one ace, Richardson 8-11 with two aces, Roth 6-6, Moran 4-5 and Barron 2-2.
The match ended the high school careers of seniors Elle Roth, Mia Dischner, Alejandra Barron, Kinley Eyring, Meidi Reyes and Fatima Duran.
The region is well represented in the state volleyball tournaments, this week at The Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs.
The Lower Platte Activities Association has four teams in the Class 2A tournament.
Sedgwick County, Holyoke, Wiggins and Akron all won their regionals last week. Akron is the somewhat surprise team, knocking off second-seed Dayspring Christian in Greeley to earn a state berth. The Rams are the 12th seed, and open tourney play today against a familiar foe, fifth-seed Holyoke. The winner of that match gets fourth-seed Soroco.
Sedgwick County is the top overall seed, and will play the winner of the Denver Christian-Hoehne match.
Wiggins, the defending 2A champion, is the sixth seed and opens against 11th-seed Ignacio. The winner of that match then plays third-seed Fowler.
The LPAA also has two teams in the 1A tourney. Haxtun is the third, and will open against the winner of sixth-seed Stratton and 11th-seed Belleview Christian. Merino is the fourth seed, and will open against the winner of fifth-seed Wiley and 12th-seed Genoa-Hugo/Karval. The 1A field also includes Idalia. The Wolves are the seventh-seed, and open against 10th-seed Flatirons Academy.
Also, Sterling is in the 3A tournament as the sixth seed.
The double-elimination tournaments are today through Saturday.