Yuma volleyball keeps tinkering in search of winning rotation

The Yuma High School volleyball team keeps tinkering with its rotation in search of that winning formula.
Head coach Jenny Noble and staff have adjusted the Tribe’s attack several times in the season’s first two weeks, while going 4-3 heading into today’s, September 16, league home match against the Akron Rams.

“We’re just trying to find something that gets us more scoring opportunities, and helps us minimize our errors,” Noble said earlier this week. “If we can move people around to minimize our errors, that would be a big help. We’re just trying to find something that’s going to give us a chance to win.”
Yuma is 0-1 in LPAA play heading into today’s home match with Akron. The Rams entered this week 1-4, including a five-set loss to Yuma in the season-opening Kit Carson Tournament. Noble reiterated that the Tribe did not play particularly well in that victory, so she was anxious to see if her team has made strides.
“Akron will be a good test for us to see if we have improved,” she said.
Yuma fell out of the Class 2A Top 10 (CHSAANow.com polls) after going 1-1 last week. The Lower Platte Activities Association boasts in the top-ranked teams in 2A, Sedgwick County, and 1A, Merino. Also, Wiggins is No. 2 in 2A and Haxtun is No. 5 in 1A.
As for the Rating Percentage Index, Yuma was at No. 23 in 2A as of earlier this week. Sedgwick County, which beat Yuma on September 1, is No. 1 in the RPI, while Wiggins is No. 7. Wray, at No. 19, and Holyoke at No. 22, also were ahead of the Tribe in the RPI entering this week.
Besides today’s match with Akron, No. 40 in the RPI, the Indians travel to Greeley on Saturday to take on Class 3A power University.
Though a few weeks into the 2021 fall season, it remains difficult to truly gauge the Indians.
“It’s hard to tell when the caliber of the teams we play are so different,” Noble said.
Last week was a perfect example as the Tribe went to Imperial, Nebraska last Tuesday to take on a tough Chase County Longhorns squad, followed by the home opener on Thursday against the Brush Beetdiggers.
Chase County showed no mercy on the Yuma crew, handing the Indians a 23-25, 12-25, 10-25 loss.
Yuma made a valiant effort in the first set, rallying from a big deficit to have a chance to win. However, Chase County pulled it out, and it was all Longhorns after that.
Yuma had only 18 kills with a .014 hitting percentage, while the Longhorns had 36 kills with a .294 hitting percentage. Elle Roth had 13 kills for the Tribe, but it dropped off after that with Meidi
Reyes picking up three, and Lea Richardson and Caddis Robinson one each. Richardson and Robinson each accounted for nine setting assists.
The Indians served 87 percent, with five aces. Reyes was 12-12 with one ace, Mia Dischner 6-6 with one ace, Roth 6-7, Robinson 7-9 with one ace, Richardson 4-6 with two aces, Jailyn Mekelburg 2-2 and Emma Rayl 2-3. Roth and Rayl led in digs. The Indians had 13 serve receive errors in 49 chances.
Yuma finally got to play in The Pit last Thursday against Class 3A Brush, sweeping past a Beetdiggers squad stuck playing in the powerful Patriot League, 25-17, 25-7, 25-14.
The Tribe led 11-8 in the first set when it scored eight straight. The set never was in doubt after that.
Three consecutive aces by Robinson staked Yuma to a 6-2 lead in the second set. Dischner then served up 12 straight points for an 18-4 lead.
Robinson served up the first six points of the third set, and Roth also had a six-point run as the Tribe opened up a 14-6 lead and cruised from there.
“We tend to have stretches where we play poorly against good and bad teams,” Noble said, “but we played well through the whole match against Brush so that’s what I am going to take from that one.”
Yuma was 94.4 percent at the service line. Dischner was 21-22 with four aces, Robinson 16-17 with five aces, Mekelburg 11-11 with four aces, Roth 9-10 with two aces, Richardson 5-6 with two aces, Reyes 4-4 with one ace, and Kinley Eyring 1-1.

Roth led a 35-kill attack with 15, while Robinson had eight, Mekelburg six, Dischner two, and Richardson, Lyndsey Mekelburg, Reyes, and Alejandra Barron one each. Richardson had 23 assists. There was not much for dig opportunities against Brush as Rayl was the only one to reach double figures, finishing with 10.
“We just need to keep getting better,” Noble said. “We’ve been able to do that the last couple of (seasons) and it has gotten us back to the state tournament. We just need to give ourselves the same opportunity this (season).”