Regional champs: Lady Cowboys advance to state tourney

The Meeker High School volleyball team entered the Region G tournament as the No. 2 seed and left as regional champions after defeating Telluride and host Ridgeway on Saturday. The championship advanced the Lady Cowboys to the Colorado State Volleyball Championships in Denver, and Meeker will be in the same pool as Ridgeway and Resurrection Christian, playing Ridgeway first on Friday at 8 a.m. Playing for the regional champs are, in front, Piper Haney, Aly Ridings and Taylor Neilson. Middle, Sydney Hughes, Jamie McLaughlin, Brittany Smith, Paige Jones, Reagan Pearce and Meagan Parker. Back row, coaches Christy Atwood, Janae Stanworth and Keely Winger, Lori Ann Klinglesmith, Maggie Phelan and Jenna Walsh.

The Meeker High School volleyball team entered the Region G tournament as the No. 2 seed and left as regional champions after defeating Telluride and host Ridgeway on Saturday. The championship advanced the Lady Cowboys to the Colorado State Volleyball Championships in Denver, and Meeker will be in the same pool as Ridgeway and Resurrection Christian, playing Ridgeway first on Friday at 8 a.m. Playing for the regional champs are, in front, Piper Haney, Aly Ridings and Taylor Neilson. Middle, Sydney Hughes, Jamie McLaughlin, Brittany Smith, Paige Jones, Reagan Pearce and Meagan Parker. Back row, coaches Christy Atwood, Janae Stanworth and Keely Winger, Lori Ann Klinglesmith, Maggie Phelan and Jenna Walsh.
The Meeker High School volleyball team entered the Region G tournament as the No. 2 seed and left as regional champions after defeating Telluride and host Ridgeway on Saturday. The championship advanced the Lady Cowboys to the Colorado State Volleyball Championships in Denver, and Meeker will be in the same pool as Ridgeway and Resurrection Christian, playing Ridgeway first on Friday at 8 a.m. Playing for the regional champs are, in front, Piper Haney, Aly Ridings and Taylor Neilson. Middle, Sydney Hughes, Jamie McLaughlin, Brittany Smith, Paige Jones, Reagan Pearce and Meagan Parker. Back row, coaches Christy Atwood, Janae Stanworth and Keely Winger, Lori Ann Klinglesmith, Maggie Phelan and Jenna Walsh.
RBC I “I believe in you’ is what they were saying on the floor in the Telluride match to get the momentum to change,” said Meeker High School volleyball coach Christy Atwood of her team’s outstanding comeback in the first match against Telluride. The lady Cowboys set up a regional winning match and earned themselves a trip to the Colorado State Volleyball Championships in Denver this weekend.
When asked who played well Atwood said, “As much as the girls want to play well individually they have been able to work so well as a team. That is the reason we won.”
Teamwork has been their focus this year and a combination of competitiveness and heart have made the year successful for the girls and they aren’t done yet.
The lady Cowboys will take their momentum to pool play Friday morning, when they begin the tournament against the team they beat Saturday (Ridgeway), then complete pool play against Resurrection Christian, with the No. 1 team from each pool advancing to the semifinals Saturday.
Meeker junior Paige Jones spikes the ball over the net against Telluride, with teammates Hughes, Neilson, Haney, Pearce and Ridings backing her up.
Meeker junior Paige Jones spikes the ball over the net against Telluride, with teammates Hughes, Neilson, Haney, Pearce and Ridings backing her up.
The Meeker girls began their regional championship against Telluride with the match being “one of redemption for us as they were the team that ended our journey last year,” Atwood said. Early in the match the lady Cowboys were not able to get into any kind of rhythm and fell in the first two sets before staging a comeback that excited the crowd and gave them the confidence they needed to win the third set 27-25. Coach Atwood said, “The team got the ‘I want to win’ look in their eyes and believed in their hearts.” They continued to show they were not ready to end their season and won a close fourth game, setting up an intense fifth game.
In the final game, they limited their errors and made good decisions on both sides of the ball. They won the match, and Atwood said, “There was a visible deep breath in the team.”
Meeker was one step closer to their goal and one tough team away from a trip over the mountain. They would turn right around and face Ridgeway, and coach Atwood said, “Playing back to back totally worked in our favor. Not only did we have the momentum from the match still stirring in the gym but the benefits from our disciplined training and conditioning program was paying off for us.”
The lady Cowboys were up against the top hitter in the state, Katelyn Rutherford, but the tenacious blocking shut the hitter down and Meeker won the first two sets. Ridgeway fought back to win the third set, but once Meeker found its rhythm again in the fourth set, there was no stopping them.
“When we got to 20 the girls simply lifted their game together once again and were able to finish winning 25-18,” Atwood said.
Senior Piper Haney had 97 assists on the weekend, with classmate Aly Ridings killing 24 of them. Taylor Neilson 19 and Sydney Hughes led with 36 kills. To prove it was an entire team effort, Reagan Pearce added 13 kills and Paige Jones had 14.
The serving was another strong point as Aly Ridings and Sydney Hughes both were perfect from behind the line. On the defensive side, Reagan Pearce had 30 digs and six blocks, Paige Jones added six blocks, Sydney Hughes had an amazing 81 digs, along with 54 from Ridings, 44 from Haney and 57 from Neilson, 32 from Brittany Smith, Jamie McLaughlin added 18, and Megan Parker had four.
The numbers speak for themselves, and Atwood would like to mention the support players Jenna Walsh, Maggie Phelan and Lori Ann Klinglesmith. They may not have seen the court but they provided great support from the bench and in practice all week. She would also like to thank all the family and friends who made the trip to Ridgeway. Their support was critical to the wins. The team will leave Thursday for the journey over the mountain to the state tournament.