Another year, same postseason result for Mancos volleyball.
The Lady Bluejays are Denver Coliseum bound for the fifth straight season. They will play in the 2A Colorado High School Activities Association State Volleyball Championships on Friday and Saturday.
This year is more special for Mancos (20-4), as it won its second-ever regional tournament last Saturday at Palisade High School.
The Lady Bluejays picked up where they left off at districts and dominated its opponents, winning all three matches in straight sets. Mancos has won 11 matches in a row overall.
We got to regionals, it was the same mentality (as districts). They did it again, Mancos coach Ramona Shepherd said. They beat everyone in three. Weve never done that in the history of the school. Its only the second time we even won regionals. To win them in such an amazing way in three games, was amazing.
In the first match versus 2A Western Slope squad Rangely (10-14), things looked bleak for Mancos. Starting freshman outside hitter Courtney Colyer sprained her ankle in the first set and sat out the rest of the match. Shepherd had to substitute in junior varsity freshmen Maya Bond and Taylor Goff, whom had never seen the varsity court before, in place for Colyer. The youngsters received plenty of encouragement from their varsity teammates and managed the match well. The Lady Bluejays went on to beat Rangely in tough straight sets, 3-0 (29-27, 25-19, 27-25).
Colyer returned for the next two matches against Telluride (22-3) and Meeker (14-11).
Mancos started fast in its second and third matches against the Miners and Cowgirls, and cruised to straight set wins. The 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-21) win over San Juan Basin League regular season champion Telluride evened the season series 2-2.
It was hard to lose to Telluride two times earlier in the year. We had to be patient, Shepherd said. Our patents has paid off. I was surprised to see we won 11 in a row. I think its a hats off to the kids. The players didnt get discouraged. We had to make little goals throughout the year to keep these kids on track. To let them know losing is OK. The kids are now exactly where I need them to be.
After taking care of Meeker, 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-14) in the final match, the celebration was on in Palisade.
We got up on them and we just took it to them. They started to falter and make mistakes. We got up on Meeker and just never looked back, Shepherd said. It was an amazing weekend, the kids just stepped up. Its what a coach hopes for. Its what a coach wishes for.
Senior captain Amiee Johnson led the way against Meeker with 24 kills and 29 digs. Senior co-captain Erica Blackburn recorded a double-double of 31 assists and 15 digs. Brandi Bundy and Andie Paschal each tallied 15 digs, while Jessica Willburn chipped in 11 digs.
They really exceeded my expectations. The kids are a young, young team, Shepherd said. I told Aimee this summer, she needs to be patient. They cant shoot out of the block like shed like right off. Both Aimee and Erica worked hard to encourage these younger players. As the matches have developed, it became less and less Aimee. The kids are stepping up.
Mancos is the No. 5-seed in the 2A state tournament and will play in the first match Friday morning at 8 a.m. against No. 4-seed Swink (22-4).
The kids are very inspired and excited about going to state. I think we have a chance to do something at state, Shepherd said. Were the very first 2A match on Friday morning. Im glad with that. State is not structured. You have to warm up in the back. You cant warm up like you want. Having the first match, the kids can get on the floor early and have a real warm up. When we get there first thing in the morning, I can get those kids right on the court. Im excited about that.
Mancos will then take on No. 1-seed Lutheran (20-4) at 2 p.m. The Lady Bluejays play eighth-seeded Dayspring Christian (21-3) at 11 a.m., on Saturday.
Telluride is the No. 7-seed in the tournament, while fellow SJBL school Norwood (22-4) is the eight-seed in the 1A state tournament.
Check www.chsaa.org for scheduling information.