Yuma volleyball takes on rival Friday

Yuma High School’s volleyball team finds itself in the middle of a large group of similar teams.
Yuma heads to Wray for its rivalry match on Friday with a 9-9 overall record after splitting a pair of non-league matches late last week.

The five-set loss at Burlington, followed by a five-set win at Byers, were perfect examples of how closely matched so many teams are in Class 2A. Yuma entered this week ranked No. 30 in the Rating Percentage Index, well within the top 36 for a regional berth. Yuma has more chances to move up in the RPI with five matches left, including a tough league contest at Sedgwick County on Tuesday. The Cougars entered this week 14-2 overall and No. 2 in the RPI and the 2A Top 10.
“Besides maybe the top teams, the RPI changes so much between 18 and 36 because so many of us are around .500,” coach Jamie Robinson said. “It’s just crazy…We just need to take care of ourselves and our won-loss record.”
Perhaps one of the most evenly-matched games one will witness took last Thursday at Burlington, at least through the first four sets. In the end, a blown 23-18 lead in the fourth set led to a Yuma loss, 28-26, 22-25, 25-21, 25-27, 5-15.
Yuma and the Cougars literally alternated points through much of the first two sets, including a few instances in which the teams each took a turn scoring 12 straight times.
The Yuma girls then faced a daunting deficit in the third set, but somehow rallied to pull out a four-point win.
They then took control in the fourth set, and seemed headed to a victory as they led 23-18, nearly an insurmountable lead in the rally scoring era. However, Burlington got on a roll and pulled out the win, then rode the momentum to an easy victory in the fifth set.
Caddis Robinson had 15 kills, Lea Richardson 10, Jailyn Mekelburg eight, Alina Moran eight, Lyndsey Mekelburg six and Emma Rayl six. Rayl had 23 setting assists, Robinson 14, Moran five, and L. Mekelburg three. L. Mekelburg and Richardson led in serve receive. Rayl was 23-23 serving with three aces, Liddy Day 21-21 with three aces, Robinson 19-20 with four aces, L. Mekelburg 12-12, J. Mekelburg 11-13 with two aces, Cheyenne McCreath 5-5, Richardson 5-7, and Chloe Smith 4-5.
The hangover from that tough loss seemed to stick with Yuma as it dropped the first two sets Saturday t Byers before rallying for a five-set win, 23-25, 22-25, 25-15, 25-15 and 15-12.
“Obviously, we wish we would have got that one in Burlington, but watching those girls come back t Byers, they could have said they were done and just get out of there with the loss, but they changed it up and got the win.”
In another evenly-matched contest, Yuma rallied in the first set for a 21-19 lead, only to see Byers come back for the win. The hometown Bulldogs mostly controlled the second set for the three-point win.
Yuma finally got rolling in the third set, turning a 7-7 tie into a 21-11 lead while on its way to the 10-point win. The fourth stayed tighter longer with the teams tied at 14. However, Yuma rolled from there scoring 11 of the last 12 points. The match ended with back-to-back aces by Robinson.
It appeared Yuma might drop another five-set decision, falling behind 5-1, but rallied for a 5-5 tie. It stayed tight from there, but Yuma eventually pulled away by scoring four of the final five points.
Robinson had 16 kills, J. Mekelburg 10, Moran nine, and L. Mekelburg five. Rayl had 28 setting assists, and Richardson nine. L. Mekelburg was 20-21 serving, Rayl 18-19 with two aces, Smith 13-13 with two aces, J. Mekelburg 14-16 with one ace, Day 9-9, McCreath 11-12 with two aces, and Robinson 9-10 with two aces. Richardson and L. Mekelburg led in digs.