Meeker advances to Palisade regional tourney on Saturday

MEEKER — The Cowgirls volleyball team entered the tournament with the No. 1 seed and started their pool play against No. 8 Plateau Valley on Friday afternoon and came away with a win.
The Cowgirls had seen Plateau Valley a week ago and were able to execute a similar game plan for the match.
Our team was very business-like in their approach to the game with an attitude of getting up and staying up to win. Each player contributed in the win by simply doing their jobs. They have heard me say that at least 1,000 times to help make tough situations come easy. This time it allowed the team to win comfortably in three games. The team won 25-12, 25-17, 25-19.
Marki Cook and Sydney Cook scored 13 points each; Janae Kindall had nine kills; Kelsey Kendall, Meg Nieslanik and Stacy Fitzgibbons — our “bigs” — protected our net with their blocks.
The second match of the night was against No. 5 Paonia, who incidentally ended the Cowgirls basketball season last year on the same floor.
We were able to battle hard for the league win at home, but their home floor would no doubt be a different story. The girls were physically ready and able to use a few My Space quotes for fuel to mentally ready themselves for this match. We started the match a bit sluggish allowing Paonia the first five points. This has not been a panic situation for us in the past; we simply have to work ourselves into the first game. Once everyone got the game jitters and adrenaline settled we were ready to play ball.
After winning the first two games and being up by four in the third, we lost the momentum by missing a few passes on serve receive and eventually lost by two. The fourth game the girls were able to refocus on the game plan and play the type of ball needed to get the win. The team won 25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 25-17.
Kelcy Brown and Megan Ridings had nine points; Janae Kindall 20 kills; Meg Nieslanik nine kills, two solo and one assisted block, Kelsey Kendall, Sydney Cook and Stacey Fitzgibbons combined for 10 blocks.
We faced off with No. 4 West Grand on Saturday morning to determine who would be No. 1 in our pool. Going into this match we were both 2-0 in pool play. The girls started the match like the two previous matches — methodically. The next three games were anything but that.
I made an error in the lineup for the second game in which I chose to adjust personnel rather than take the penalty point. We were unable to re-group losing momentum and allowed the Mustangs to gain the confidence they needed to feel unstoppable.
Games three and four were closer than the score demonstrates, but a loss is still a loss. It was hard to stomach at the time, but looking back it may have been the best thing for us in looking forward at the road ahead. The scores were 25-21, 215-25, 20-25, 19-25. Sydney Cook and Gabbie Goettel had 10 points each; Janae Kindall had 15 kills, three solo and one assisted block; Megan Ridings had 14 digs and Kelcy Brown had 10 assists.
We did advance to the semi-final match against Vail Christian. After the loss an hour before our only focus was to play one point at a time, focus on the fundamentals and get a win. The first game allowed us to get a feel for offensive tendencies and defensive holes.
We played point for point until Gabbie Goettel started her second term of service. She was able to rattle off five straight points pushing us ahead enough to get the win. The next game was similar to the first, we weren’t able to get a long run of momentum, but just kept hammering away until we got 25. The third game the team followed the game plan to near perfection. We passed well, hit smart and played incredible defense. The win gave us a redemption match against West Grand for the tournament championship. The scores were 25-23, 25-23, 25-11.
Gabbie Goettel had 12 points and eight digs; Sydney Cook and 12 points, three kills and 13 digs; and Janae Kindall had 16 kills, seven points and seven digs.
West Grand — again? We couldn’t wait! The team had several conversations about what we needed to do to get a win. The final collaborative decision was to revert back to simple fundamental volleyball. This is our bread and butter. The team needed to establish dominance early and remind the Mustangs we were the No. 1 seed in the tournament.
We were able to get the first two games in the match with this attitude and type of play. The third game we lost a bit of momentum and spotted them five. You just can’t do that when you play a good team and expect to win. We didn’t want to have a repeat from the morning so the girls centered their thoughts, remembered the goal, and worked hard for the win in game four. The scores were 25-20, 25-20, 19-25, 25-15.
Gabbie Goettel had 15 points; Janae Kindall had 11 points, 16 kills and 6 combined blocks; Marki Cook had six points, five kills, 22 assists and 12 digs; Kelcy Brown had six points, 13 assists, 10 digs and incredible plays when we needed to scramble.
We couldn’t have won without every one of our players. I could write and write about the great plays an individual had in each match, but in the end it is 13 girls working together when it’s easy and when it’s hard to win the league and then the district tournament. I am so proud to be a part of this team!
Tournament stats:
No. 1 — Meg Nieslanik — 25 kills, seven assists, five digs, four solo and four assisted blocks
No. 2 — Marki Cook — 36 points, four aces, 89 assists, 16 kills, 50 digs, nine assisted blocks
No. 3 — Kelcy Brown — 31 points, five aces, 57 assists, two kills, 23 digs
No. 4 — Kelsey Kendall — 11 kills, eight assists, six solo and six assisted blocks
No. 5 — Sydney Cook — 51 points, four aces, 20 kills, two assists, 76 digs, four solo and four assisted blocks
No. 6 — Megan Ridings — 26 points, six aces, three kills, 51 digs
No. 7 — Gabbie Goettel — 50 points, nine aces, 42 digs
No. 8 — Stacy Fitzgibbons — 23 kills, five assists, nine digs, eight solo and eight assisted blocks
No. 9 — Janae Kindall — 34 points, eight aces, 76 kills, one assist, nine solo and two assisted blocks, 40 digs
No. 13 — Jamie Gillis — One point, two digs
No. 14 — Devon Buckendorf — One solo block
No. 15 — Morgan Nielson — Three digs
No. 12 — Timbre Shriver —
Stat girls — Jade Hudman, Elissa McLaughlin, Sage Chapin
We will play in the regional tournament at Palisade High School, Saturday, Nov. 1. Thanks to everyone who came to support our team in Paonia. We couldn’t have done it without you.
Congratulations to the Rangely Panthers for finishing the tournament third and earning a berth to the regional tournament.