Vail Mountain win denies Rangely a trip to regionals

Rangely’s Dakota Kenney is congratulated by assistant coach Betty Lopez after a win over Meeker in the district tournament.

Rangely’s Dakota Kenney is congratulated by assistant coach Betty Lopez after a win over Meeker in the district tournament.
Rangely’s Dakota Kenney is congratulated by assistant coach Betty Lopez after a win over Meeker in the district tournament.
RANGELY I The Lady Panthers finished second in the league and second at the district tournament.
But they won’t be going to regionals.
“We’re done,” said coach Jimmie Mergleman after the Rangely volleyball team saw its season end Saturday at the district tournament in Meeker. “Our league protects the league winner, so if we would have won the league, we would’ve been automatically guaranteed to go on to regionals.”
Instead, Vail Christian finished first in the league, and Vail Mountain won the district tournament, beating Rangely. So both Vail teams will advance.
“You know, our league is tough,” Mergleman said. “It’s hard. There are always at least three or four good teams and usually a sleeper that comes on at the end.”
This year, that sleeper was Vail Mountain.
“They just happened to be playing good at the right time,” Mergleman said.
In the district finals, Rangely won the first two games against Vail Mountain.
“We played really well the first two games,” Mergleman said. “Then we didn’t play up to our potential and we lost the next three in a row. It was frustrating. We had beat them earlier in the season. Had we done what we were supposed to do, we would be there (at regionals).”
Asked if she thought her team — considered in the preseason to be one of the league favorites — was nervous, Mergleman said, “I think so, because they knew it was do or die.”
Rangely will lose only senior starter Audrey Hogan from this year’s team.
“Everybody else is coming back, and then Victoria Phelan should be healed up and back with us next year,” Mergleman said.
Phelan, a junior, injured her knee during track last spring and underwent surgery.
“She will be back the middle of basketball season, roughly around January,” said Mergleman, who also coaches the Lady Panthers’ basketball team.
Even though disappointed not to advance to regionals, Mergleman said she was still happy with the Lady Panthers’ volleyball team.
“Overall, you know, it was still a successful season,” she said. “To finish second in the league and second at district, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Other than we just don’t get to go on.”