‘Cats fall in regional volleyball; Paonia qualifies for state
HIGHLANDS RANCH — Successful volleyball teams generally possess two qualities: size and athleticism.
Fruita Monument High School ran into a team with both in Saturday’s championship match at the Class 5A regional tournament.
After dispatching Poudre in three games, the Wildcats ran into a roadblock in host Mountain Vista, the fifth seed in the playoffs. The Golden Eagles downed the Wildcats 25-14, 25-15, 25-9 to earn one of the 12 state tournament berths.
Although Fruita Monument played in three tournaments on the Front Range during the regular season, it didn’t face the competition in the Southwestern League that Mountain Vista competed against in the Continental League.
“Teams in that conference are all real good,” Wildcats coach Bob Richardson said.
Fruita Monument and Mountain Vista entered the tournament with identical 18-5 records. The difference in their ranking (the Wildcats were seeded 22nd) was in the strength of schedule during the regular season.
“One of our problems on our side of the mountain is we don’t see that competition,” Richardson said.
The Wildcats began their day by defeating Poudre 25-18, 25-22, 25-18 in the three-team round robin. Mountain Vista had downed Poudre 3-0 in the tournament opener.
Paonia had to work to win one match and breezed through the other as the Eagles won their regional to qualify for the Class 2A state tournament.
Paonia edged Vail Mountain 25-18, 20-25, 20-25, 25-17, 15-11 and dispatched Dolores 25-17, 25-19, 25-22.
Ce’rra Carsten totaled 25 kills, 41 assists, 26 digs and seven aces in the two matches for the Eagles and Carson Pipher had 20 kills.
Palisade (15-10) dropped both of its matches in 4A regional play at Ponderosa High School.
Ponderosa beat the Bulldogs 25-23, 25-19, 16-25, 25-14, and Air Academy edged Palisade 21-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-16, 15-8.
Morgan Thieszen paced Palisade in the first game with nine kills. In the second game, Savannah Hanson had 11 kills and 23 digs and Thieszen contributed three solo blocks.
■ Montrose defeated Evergreen 25-20, 25-16, 25-23 in its first match at Thompson Valley High School in Loveland. In the second match, however, Thompson Valley beat the Indians 25-22, 23-25, 25-20, 27-25 to claim the state berth.
■ Delta lost both of its matches in Durango. The hosts beat the Panthers 25-20, 25-15, 25-14, and Pueblo West defeated Delta 25-22, 25-13, 25-12.
Olathe beat Centauri in three games, but lost to Platte Valley in three games as the Broncos won the regional they hosted and claimed the state berth.
■ Grand Valley defeated Peak to Peak 25-15, 25-19, 25-20 in its second regional game at University High School. In the first match University routed the Cardinals 25-15, 25-9, 25-10.