WGHS volleyball: Mustangs rebound for 9-3 record | SkyHiNews.com

WGHS volleyball: Mustangs rebound for 9-3 record

by Larry Banman
Sky-Hi Daily News

The West Grand High School volleyball team split a pair of league contests this past weekend, losing to Meeker on Friday night and then rebounding with a victory over Vail Christian on Saturday morning.

The Mustangs now have a 9-3 record and a 3-2 record in Western Slope League play.

The loss to Meeker was the second in a row for West Grand, so it was good for the Mustangs to stop that mini losing streak with the win on Saturday.

The victory over Vail Christian featured the best blocking game of the year for West Grand. According to Head Coach Laura Gore, the Mustangs had five solo blocks and 16 block assists. In the scoring system used by Gore, when two players combine for a block at the net both are awarded an assist block.

West Grand won the match, 25-18, 25, 25-21, 25-21. It was the second time the Mustangs have defeated Vail Christian. Earlier in the season, West Grand traveled to Vail Christian and won the match in four games. The match on Saturday is the one that will be counted for district seeding purposes.

Danette Billington led the Mustangs in kills against Vail Christian with seven. Alyse Billington had seven assists and Renea Ellison had six assists.

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Gore said the team benefitted from strong serving off of the bench from Kelsey Keck. In addition, Rebecca Roller didn’t have any service errors. It was the second straight game in which Roller had no errors while serving.

The Mustangs game against Meeker was somewhat similar to last week’s game against Hayden in that West Grand had stretches in which it clearly had the upper hand, only to see early leads slip away. The match extended to four games as Meeker prevailed, 26-24, 25-21, 17-25, 25-21.

In this particular match, whenever Cowboy star Janae Kindall was in the strong-side hitting position, Meeker was very tough. For example, in the first game, Kindall had three straight kills in the middle of the game to nearly erase an early West Grand lead all by herself. It was one of several instances in which the senior hitter from Meeker either started a Cowboy rally or killed a Mustang rally.

The Mustangs broke to a 10-3 lead behind the strong serving of Danette Billington. After Meeker recovered and eventually built a 24-20 lead, West Grand exhibited strong play to nearly come back and win the first game.

Rose Hargadine blocked two hits to earn one point for West Grand and Brook Cecil had a kill and two aces as the Mustangs tied the game at 24 points apiece. Two unforced errors by West Grand, however, allowed Meeker to turn the tide and win the game.

In the second game of the match, Meeker was able to slowly build a lead. The four-point differential was the largest of the entire game.

Kindall was again a key player for Meeker as the Cowboys built a 2-0 lead in games.

West Grand played one of its best games of the year in the third game of the match. Danette Billington, Roller and Alyse Billington all had strong serving stretches. After Roller served four consecutive points, the Mustangs had an eight-point lead at 12-4. It was a lead that the Cowboys were never able to signifcantly decrease.

In the third game, Melissa Kraker had a number of strong kills and Ellison was at her defensive best, scrambling for several digs.

As a result of the strong play by the Mustangs, Meeker was on its heels the entire game and never mounted a challenge.

Ellison led the team in kills with eight and Danette Billington registered seven kills. Alyse Billington had 16 assists in the game and Ellison and Roller both were 100 percent with their serves.

Coach Gore said the passing was very strong in the game. For the year, she added, Danette Billington has been doing a good job of making good passes off of digs. Gore added that Cecil has also improved a great deal in this area of her game.

The fourth game saw Meeker reestablish itself and win the game, 25-21, to earn a match victory.

West Grand has three games this upcoming week, two of which are league contests.

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