Volleyball: West Grand nets second seed at tourney | SkyHiNews.com

Volleyball: West Grand nets second seed at tourney

Larry Banman
Special to Sky-Hi Daily News
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News
ALL | Sky-Hi Daily News

It was a great week of volleyball for West Grand as the Mustangs were able to defeat the North Park Wildcats on Thursday night and then secure second place for the district tournament with a victory over Paonia on Saturday.

Coach Laura Gore was thrilled with the results of the week and said she is excited about the district tournament which begins Friday night in Rangely.

“We were able to overcome some adversity in the North Park game,” Gore said, “and get past some mental blocks which we have had this year.”

North Park and West Grand are long-time rivals, and the Wildcats from Walden have had West Grand’s number for the past several seasons, defeating the Lady Mustangs in both volleyball and basketball. Earlier this season, the Mustangs had North Park on the ropes in a volleyball game in Kremmling, but the Wildcats rebounded to win that match in five games.

On Thursday night in Walden, the Mustangs were down by nine points in the second game after winning the first game, 25-22. The ability of West Grand to come back and win that game, 25-20, was a huge stepping stone for the Mustangs, Gore said.

North Park would not go quietly into the night, however, and won the third game, 25-15. Gore said the experience of coming back in the second game helped keep her team from panicking and come back to win the fourth game, which was decided in overtime, 27-25.

North Park and West Grand played very well, coach Gore said, making the match one of the most enjoyable of the year. Even though the game didn’t count in the league standings, it was good to finally get past the “hurdle” of North Park, she said.

Renea Ellison led the team in hitting with 10 kills while Danette Billington added nine to the team total. Jordan Davidson had 17 assists to lead the team. The best passing statistics for the night were turned in by Chelsea Lassaline and Billington. Hitting all of their serves for the Mustangs were Jessica Elliott, Billington and Brook Cecil.

Saturday’s game with Paonia was extremely important for seeding at the district tournament. The Mustangs responded with a tremendous effort in their last home game of the year and defeated the Eagles, 25-19, 25-18, 21-25, 26-24.

The victory earned West Grand the second seed in the district tournament.

Against Paonia, Billington led the team in kills with 11 while Cecil had 10 kills. Davidson had 28 assists in the game to lead West Grand to the win.

The best passing of the game was turned in by Elliott and Stephanie Stubbs, who earned the highest single-game marks for passing this year.

It was senior night for the Mustangs, and Lassaline and Stubbs started for West Grand. Gore said they both responded extremely well. The two seniors have been the only varsity bench players for West Grand this season and they have become an integral part of the success of the team.

Serving 100 percent from the service line were Davidson, Stubbs and Rose Hargadine. Elliott missed only her third serve of the season.

“We have stepped it up mentally,” Coach Gore said, “and we are very excited about this weekend.”

The West Grand Mustangs are seeded second in the district tournament Friday in Rangely.

They will be joined in their pool by Grand Valley, Paonia and Vail Mountain. The Mustangs play seventh-seeded Grand Valley first at 4 p.m. Friday

Pool play will begin on Friday night and conclude Saturday morning. The top two teams from each pool will then cross-bracket (the top team from bracket A will play the second team from bracket B and vice-versa) to determine which two teams will play the next weekend in the regional tournament.

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