‘We have to earn it: Low seed spurs Fruita to show what it can do in volleyball districts

Fruita Monument’s Angie Archuleta and the wildcats will be underdogs in their volleyball district, despite a 17-2 regular-season record. The Wildcats received the No. 22 seed and begin play today at Ponderosa High School.

The Fruita Monument High School volleyball team is finding out life isn’t fair.

The Wildcats finished the regular season 17-2, but were given the No. 22 seed in the Class 5A volleyball state tournament.

The seed landed the Wildcats in the District 3 tournament this weekend at Ponderosa High School.

“I knew we wouldn’t get a lot of respect when it came to the districts,” Fruita Monument coach Bob Richardson said. “But I told the girls we have to earn it.”

Both of Fruita Monument’s regular-season losses came against Durango, a Class 4A school.

Had the Wildcats won one of the two five-set matches, they would have won the Southwestern League and would be hosting.

The Colorado High School Activities Association only awards a district to a Class 5A SWL team if it wins the league outright because it is a 4A/5A league.

Fruita finished second and dropped from possibly the seventh or eighth seed to No. 22 and into one of the toughest districts in the tournament.

Fruita Monument begins pool play at 6:45 tonight against No. 35 CastleView. Saturday morning, the Wildcats play No. 14 Ralston Valley.

The tournament also features No. 3 Ponderosa, No. 30 Mountain Range and No. 46 Arvada West in Pool A.

After the pool play is completed, the first-place team from each pool plays the second-place team from the opposite pool.

The winners of those matches play for the district championship.

“You can’t look ahead, and it’s critical that we beat the teams that we can,” Richardson said. “You have to have great mental focus because you have four matches in a short amount of time.”

The Wildcats might not have gotten much respect heading into the district tournament, but they feel they’re talented enough to earn respect. Fruita won its first eight matches, and 10 of the Wildcats’ victories have been 3-0.

“They played together all year,” Richardson said. “You can’t win games by themselves, and that was the difference.

“We played against some teams with some great individual players, but we were able to come out on top because we played as a team.”

Central is in the District 2 tournament Saturday at Chaparral. The Warriors play Northglenn, then turn around and play Chaparral.

“It’s a long day,” Central coach Beth Nelson said. “You have to play as a team, and you can’t have any weak links.”

In Class 4A, Palisade is at the District 8 tournament Saturday in Durango. The Bulldogs’ first match is against Mountain View.


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