Knowing at least two wins in Monument would likely be required in order to secure hosting duty for one of the Class 3A State Tournament’s dozen three-team regionals, ultimately lacking a second Palmer Ridge Invitational win to support a success against 4A Pueblo South stuck in Terene Foutz’s craw.
Admittedly dissatisfied last Saturday evening with how the tournament shook out, Bayfield’s skipper did sport a Cheshire Cat-like grin when mentioning the fact that only two points separated the Wolverines from Colorado Springs’ Coronado – at the time a top-five team in 4A – in a three-set thriller won 23-25, 25-15, 15-13 by the Cougars.
Even PRHS, ranked No. 8 in the CHSAANow.com 4A poll going in, didn’t exactly dominate the smaller school at day’s end, hanging on to win the third-tier bronze bracket’s championship 25-22, 25-21 and save ninth place overall; BHS’ players knew that in many cases, the match came down to either fatigue or basic mental errors.
“Simple mistakes,‘honest’ mistakes, I guess you could say,” said junior Melissa Roberts. “Like with our block, where’s the gaps? Or when we’re hitting, we have to find the top of the ball, stay behind our setter and all that.”
“One of the ones I noticed most with myself,” she continued, “is just staying behind the setter, then going straight up to hit and finding that ball in front of me, then finding the energy in me to put it away.”
“Talking about setting and what needs to be happening, it’s just, like, the basics,” senior setter Meghan Youngblood said. “Constantly communicating with our hitters about what they need – whether higher or lower, whether on the net more or off the net – so they have a better opportunity to pound balls like they can.
“We just have to keep working hard,” she emphasized. “We’ve got to keep that intensity up; when we’re in our game, we’re good. When we don’t shut down, we can keep that ball in play, and I think this season we have a really good opportunity to keep going through.”
And though it was evident BHS’ route to an implied Denver Coliseum destination wasn’t expected to run through Delta County so late in the 2019 volleyball campaign, the Wolverines – denied a postseason in ’18 after finishing just 7-16 overall and 5-5 in the Intermountain League – won’t mind when the first serve goes up this Saturday in Cedaredge.
At the 3A-Region 11 Tournament, 14-seed Bayfield (15-8) will first face No. 26 Buena Vista, coming off a promising 3-1 showing – their only loss came against Centauri – at their own Heart of the Rockies Invite last weekend, at 10:30 a.m. They will then duel against the hosts, No. 11 Bruins in the regional’s third and final match.
Buena Vista-Cedaredge will get the tournament underway at 9 a.m.
Senior setter Lindsey Pratt actually leads Buena Vista in kills with 168 kills, with 5-foot-10 senior Mady McFee (154), senior right-side Sage McGinnis (153) and senior middle Maddison Wagner (144) all close as the 5-7 Pratt (363 assists) and the 5-10 McGinnis (235) have ably shared setting duties.
With 219 and 207 digs, respectively, Pratt and McGinnis have also proven themselves to be quite defensive-minded, though senior libero Maddy Atha (274) leads Jamie Page’s Demons in the category. Listed at an even six-feet, Wagner’s 35 total blocks tops that table by quite a margin over Pratt (20), McFee (19), McGinnis (16) and junior Ruthie Molitor (16).
Led by head coach Heather Dunbar, Cedaredge – which had been ranked No. 6 in the final regular-season CHSAANow.com Class 3A poll on Oct. 28, with BHS close behind at No. 8 – began the season winning 15 consecutive matches before falling in four to Coal Ridge in New Castle. Available data shows junior middle Kammie Henderson leading the Bruins offensively with 215 kills, while senior outside/middle Makayla Kehmeier supports well with 171.
Senior right-side/middle Reganne McIntire has been a strong third option with 120 and senior outside Hannah Carlson has also broken triple figures with her 110. Henderson also paces CHS in total blocks and service aces, while junior middle Elizabeth Gilmore’s 34 total blocks goes well with Henderson’s 37 and McIntire’s 31. Kehmeier leads in digs with a reported 268, followed by junior setter Baylee Harris’ 206 and Henderson’s 198. Harris has logged a team-leading 336 assists to date.
POWER OUTAGE Of 19-4 Cedaredge’s regular-season losses, three just occurred at last weekend’s Coal Ridge Invitational – a 2-0 loss to 4A Edwards Battle Mountain and a 2-1 loss to Pagosa Springs on Day 1, then a 2-0 loss to 4A Palisade on Day 2. CHS saved face with a 2-0 win over 3A Western Slope League rival Delta, but did not have the chance to avenge their aforementioned loss to the Titans, a loss which ultimately denied Cedaredge (8-1 WSL) the league crown.
SPOT-ON, SIREntering the season’s first official practices back in August, Heart of the Rockies Radio broadcaster Caleb Burggraaf explicitly predicted in a preview post on that network’s website “A 13-9 regular season with a trip to the regional tournament” for Buena Vista.
Buena Vista would finish fourth in the Tri-Peaks with an 8-4 mark, and end regular-season work standing at 13-9 overall.