Yuma volleyball opens Saturday at Kit Carson Tournament

The Yuma High School volleyball team has a challenging start to what is going to be a challenging 2021 season.
The Indians open the campaign Saturday at the Kit Carson Tournament. They first will play Class 1A-power Kit Carson at 9 a.m., followed by a match against defending 2A champion Wiggins in pool play. All the teams then will play a cross-bracket match in the afternoon. The teams in the other pool include 1A-power Fleming, along with Simla and Akron.
“It will be a doozy,” Yuma head coach Jenny Noble said of the upcoming season, “and right off the bat we have two tough ones.”
The coach noted the Indians have had slow starts to the past two seasons, in 2019 and in last spring’s Season C.
“If we can get off to a good start, I think it will translate to the rest of the year,” she said.
Yuma’s schedule includes quality non-league opponents like Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, Chase County, Nebraska, Sidney, Nebraska, a tournament in Alliance, Nebraska, Limon, and Colorado Class 3A squads Brush, University, Resurrection Christian and Sterling.
Then there is the always-tough Lower Platte Activities Association which had the 1A and 2A champios in Season C, Merino and Wiggins, respectively. Sedgwick County advanced to the 2A championship match last spring, and there are plenty of other tough ones in the LPAA.
“It’s great to have a tough schedule because as we’ve seen in the past it helps get us to the postseason and it helps our RPI,” Noble said.
“One advantage (to playing in the Kit Carson Tournament) is we get to play that before we have a league match,” she said.
The Indians open LPAA play September 2 at Sedgwick County. They will play six matches prior to their home opener September 9 against Brush.
The Tribe will be looking a revamped attack and lineup to help it get back to a winning record in 2021.
“I think definitely we’ll be tough,” Noble said. “It’s looking promising. We have to find the right mix.”
The Indians did a little experimenting during a compacted summer tournament schedule. Noble said she saw a lot that she liked, and some not so much.
“Hopefully, we found what will work for us,” she said.
Senior Meidi Reyes has moved from middle hitter to outside hitter, providing the lineup a little more height and extra oomph on the block. Senior Elle Roth joins her as an outside hitter, with senior Mia Dischner as the middle hitter, with senior Alajandra Barron seeing some time there, as well as possibly sophomore Jailyn Mekelburg.
Yuma is moving to a “6-2” attack, with junior Lea Richardson and sophomore Caddis Robinson both playing setter, freeing up each other to be hitters at times. Sophomore Emma Rayl and junior Lyndsey Mekelburg will fill the libero and defensive specialist roles.
“We’ll have to have a few weapons to keep up with the teams we will be playing,” Noble said.
She praised the 2019 and the 2021 Season C teams for sticking it out through challenging times and getting the Indians to the 2A state tournament for the seventh and eight straight seasons, respectively.
Now it is time for the Tribe to get it going again toward higher finish in the LPAA, and making a run through the regional and state tournaments.
It’s going to be a challenge, though.