Yuma volleyball bowed out in regional

Yuma High School volleyball team’s 2023 season came to a disappointing end last Friday in regional.
It was somewhat appropriate, though, as the inconsistency that has plagued the Outlaws all season came to bear again at Hoehne.
The Outlaws finished with a 12-12 record.
“Definitely not what we wanted to happen,” coach Jamie Robinson said. “I wish we could have made it for sure, and I think the girls had the ability, but it just didn’t work out.”
It was the Burlington Cougars, which entered regional the 30th seed with a 10-13 record, that emerged as the regional champion, beating seventh-seed Hoehne and Yuma, the 18th seed, in five sets each.
The Cougars are the 11th seed in the 12-team double-elimination Class 2A Tournament that runs today through Saturday in the Denver Coliseum. They open tourney play today against sixth-seed Strasburg, with third-seed Sedgwick County waiting for the winner later in the day.
It appeared Yuma would have a shot at getting through the regional as Hoehne and Burlington battled through a lengthy five-set match in the day’s first action.
Burlington eventually pulled it out in a close fifth set, followed by a 30-minute break before taking on the Outlaws.
It started out promising for Yuma as the Outlaws rallied from an early deficit in set one for an 18-12 lead. They still led 20-16 when Burlington ran off eight straight points, with Yuma calling timeout twice during the rally. The Outlaws eventually lost 21-25.
The second set was tied at 9 when Burlington began to eventually pull away to a 15-20 lead on its way to handing the Outlaws a 19-25 defeat.
Yuma quickly fell behind in the third set 2-6, but finally got into a rhythm to take a 19-11 lead. The Outlaws led 21-15 when Burlington rallied with six straight points. The teams were tied 23 and 24 before Yuma finally pulled out the win 26-24.
It was all Yuma in the fourth set as the Outlaws turned a 12-10 lead into a 23-14 advantage. They went on to win 25-15.
It was looking like Yuma might be catching its stride while Burlington might have been tiring after such a long day.
However, the Cougars were able to find an extra gear in the fifth set. The teams were tied at 8 when Burlington went on a run to put the Outlaws in a 10-14 hole. Yuma rallied back with three straight points but could not get the one more to force extra points, losing 13-15.
“Going five (sets) with anyone is pretty crazy,” Robinson said. “Volleyball is such a momentum game, and you hope it is just on your side when the time is coming to an end.”
Caddis Robinson had 20 kills, Jailyn Mekelburg 18, Alina Moran 11, Emma Rayl three, Lauren Gonzales three and Bailey Nighswonger three. Rayl had 33 setting assists, Robinson 13 and Nighswonger seven. Yuma was solid at the serving line at 94 percent. Nighswonger was 20-10, Robinson 19-19 with two aces, Rayl 17-18 with an ace, Taryn Sheffield 17-18 with an ace, Chloe Smith 10-12, Izzie Young 9-10, and Moran 5-6 with an ace.
With Burlington winning the first two matches, the day’s final one between Yuma and Hoehne was rendered meaningless in regards to advancing to state Therefore, the teams played a best-of-three, with the hometown Farmers coming out on top 2-0. Yuma lost the first set 21-25, then the second 15-25.
Robinson had eight kills, Nighswonger four, Moran three, Gonzales three, Cheyenne McCreath two and Ashley Ibanez and Jailyn Mekelburg one each. Rayl had nine assists, Robinson four, and McCreath and Nighswonger two each. Aubrey Black and Smith each had one. Moran was 7-8 serving with one ace, Rayl 6-7, Smith 3-4, Robinson 3-3, Nighswonger 3-3, Black 3-3, Natalia Serrano 3-6, and Sheffield, Young and Robinson each 1-1.
“I feel at times we were better than a .500 team, and those girls could play so well, but then the dips in the roller coaster ride were sometimes too great to climb out of,” Robinson said.
Regional was the final action in the high school careers of seniors Emma Rayl, Caddis Robinson, Izzie Young, Cheyenne McCreath, Ashley Ibanez, Natalia Serrano and Jailyn Mekelburg.