Yuma volleyball gave it a run at regional

The Yuma Volleyball Team at least went out swinging.
Playing perhaps the best it has all season, the YVT saw its 2022 campaign come to an end after going 1-1 in the Class 2A Region 12, last Saturday in picturesque Rye. The former Indians finished with a 12-13 record.

“I’m very proud how far the team came,” coach Jamie Robinson said. “It was pretty amazing how much they grew from this summer. I probably tried about 30 lineups and they were all pretty open to the changes.”
Yuma opened regional with a 3-1 win over 12th-seed Rye. It then battled hard against 13th-seed North Fork (a new school combining Paonia and Hotchkiss), but fell in three sets.
However, Yuma still had a chance at qualifying for state if Rye could knock off North Fork. If that happened, the three teams would have a one-set playoff, with Yuma and Rye playing, then the winner facing off against North Fork.
Therefore, the Yuma team and their fans stuck around to see what would happen.
Like Yuma, Rye gave the Miners a good battle, but eventually lost in four sets, sending everyone home finally, and North Fork into this week’s Class 2A State Tournament, where the Miners are the 11th seed in the 12-team field.
“It was exciting to know we had a chance,” Robinson said. “Three-way tie for first would have been fun. I like our chances if it would of came to that. I think the girls were a little excited too, it just didn’t work out in our favor. Always sad when it is officially done.”
Yuma was fortunate to be sent to the lowest-seed among the regional-hosting teams.
The Yuma girls tried to make the most of the opportunity.
They opened regional play with a 25-21, 25-22, 23-25, 25-15 win over Rye.
Yuma led in the first set 4-1 and 17-13, but the Thunderbolts kept battling back. The teams were tied at 21 when Yuma scored the final four points for the win.
The YVT ran out to a 10-1 lead in the second set, but once again the Thunderbolts battled back, eventually tying the score at 20. However, Yuma again prevailed in the final stretch for a three-point win.
It was Yuma’s turn in the third set to fall behind, 2-7, but battled back to take a 19-18 lead. However, Rye regained the momentum for a 24-20 lead, only to see Yuma cut it to 24-23 before the Thunderbolts got the winning point.
It was all Yuma in the fourth set, though, as the former Tribe built a 14-4 lead and cruised from there for the win.
Caddis Robinson had 18 kills, Jailyn Mekelburg eight, Lyndsey Mekelburg seven, Emma Rayl six, Lea Richardson four, Alina Moran four, and Lauren Gonzales two. Rayl had 18 setting assists, Richardson 14, Robinson six, L. Mekelburg five and Moran three.
Liddy Day was 28-28 serving with one ace, L. Mekelburg 18-20 with two aces, Robinson 16-16, Rayl 13-15, Gonzales 10-11, and Moran 7-7.
The win put Yuma one match victory away from advancing to the state tournament.
However, North Fork, which traveled farther than Yuma to Rye, definitely liked its set-up also, and wanted to take advantage.
It seemed like it took awhile for Yuma to get rolling after just getting a win, falling behind 9-18 in the first set. The girls battled back to within 19-22, but ended up losing by four.
They kept up the pressure in the second set, leading by as much as four, 13-9. The teams ended up being tied four times down the stretch, including at 23, but the Miners got the final two points.
Yuma stuck around again in the third set, even taking a 21-18 lead before the Miners rallied for the win.
“Saturday was a fun day, and I really feel we had a shot to win it,” Robinson said. “I believe the girls probably shocked themselves (again) on how easily we beat Rye. I mean they didn’t go away, but it was pretty simple. North Fork was definitely the tougher competition, too bad we couldn’t of played them first.”
Yuma hurt itself throughout the day with multiple serves into the net, giving away several free points.
The YVT served 89.7 percent percent against North Fork, and was about the same against Rye.
“It was a very soft net,” Robinson said. “It had a big bow in it. Just kinda weird.”

J. Mekelburg had 10 kills, Robinson eight, L. Mekelburg five, Gonzales three, Rayl two, Richardson two, and Moran two. Rayl and Richardson each had eight setting assists, and Robinson seven. Day was 13-14 serving with one ace, Gonzales 13-14, Robinson 9-10 with three aces, Rayl 8-10, Moran 8-8 with one ace, L. Mekelburg 5-7, and Chloe Smith 4-4.
The day ended the high school volleyball careers of seniors Liddy Day, Lyndsey Mekelburg and Lea Richardson, but plenty of players return for next season.
“I can’t wait wait to see what next year brings for this team,” Robinson said. “I’m sure they will be pretty hungry for a different outcome.”