Team to beat: Warriors go 18-1, earn host role in volleyball
In Amy Kame’s four years of volleyball at Central High School, she’s reached the district tournament four times.
Kame is determined to change the trend of having her season end at those district tournaments.
More than any other year, Kame and her Central teammates are prepared to make a run at the regional tournament, and the state tournament after that.
The Warriors (18-1) are seeded sixth and host the six-team District 6 tournament Saturday with No. 11 Doherty, No. 19 Durango, No. 27 Cherokee Trail, No. 38 Fruita Monument and No. 43 George Washington.
“We have to know that we are the best team on Saturday,” Kame said. “We are hosting for a reason and we have to play the way we’ve been playing all season.”
The way the Warriors have been playing has helped them win the matches they struggled with in the past. Central swept both Montrose and Durango. which helped the Warriors finish undefeated in the Southwestern League and win their first league title since 1996.
“We beat Durango (last) Friday, and you think they’d be screaming, but they were really composed,” Central coach Beth Nelson said. “I think that’s the type of team they are. They are always thinking ahead.”
Central has the best record in Class 5A, but is in a very competitive district. The tournament will be split into two pools, with Central playing George Washington and Cherokee Trail in the morning. The top team out of Central’s pool will play the No. 2 team out of the pool that features Doherty, Durango and Fruita Monument.
The two winners of the cross-bracket matches play in the championship match at 3 p.m., with both teams advancing to next week’s regionals.
“We are trying to take care of our pool first,” Nelson said. “We are trying to stay with our game plan and working on our defense and blocking.”
To advance to the championship match, a team has to win three matches in seven hours. Nelson said making it out of the district tournament is a physically daunting task.
“It’s a long day of volleyball,” Nelson said. “Everyone has to play the same amount of (matches), but staying consistent and playing at a high level is huge.”
The Warriors are confident about their chances this weekend.
“I don’t think there’s a weak link on our team this year,” Nelson said. “I have confidence in all of them and our seniors have been outstanding.”
In Class 4A, the Palisade volleyball team plays in the District 8 tournament Saturday at Montrose. The Bulldogs finished the regular season 14-5 and earned the No. 3 seed out of the Western Slope League. Along with Palisade and Montrose at the district tournament will be Mullen, Steamboat Springs, Montezuma-Cortez and Pueblo East.
It’s a competitive field, and Palisade coach Wendy Mac- Askill said she’s still happy to be so close to home.
“It’s always nice to be able to stay on this side of the mountain,” MacAskill said. “But the competition will be tough no matter where you go.”
The Bulldogs are coming off five straight wins and are in a pool with Montrose and Pueblo East. The other pool has Steamboat, Mullen and Cortez.
“We came off of a big week and ended the league season on a high note,” MacAskill said. “It’s a good time to be peaking and beating competitive opponents.”
Palisade’s day begins with Pueblo East at 9:45 a.m. The Bulldogs then play Montrose at noon.