Cowgirls win league title

MEEKER — It was a great weekend for the Meeker Cowgirls. We played the Hayden Tigers for our homecoming and final league match Friday, Oct. 17. We knew going into the week we had to get a win on Friday to have league protection to the regional tournament in Palisade. Wanting to win and needing to win are two completely different mindsets for a team. The added pressure to win was evident when we allowed the Tigers to have the first four points in the first game. This season it has been the character of the Cowgirls to get the jitters out in the first couple points or it’s all downhill from there. Hayden knew exactly what was on the line when they came to the gym. They attacked quickly, taking advantage of our nerves and inconsistent play. We were able to make the necessary adjustments in the second game as Meg Nieslanik, Sydney Cook, and Janae Kindall hit the open defense with precision. The team rallied to win the next three games to win the match. The even distribution on the offensive side of the ball allowed the team to combine for 42 kills and defensively 14 team blocks.
We have focused this season on how to play, adjust and hopefully win as a team. This will allow every player to contribute her most valuable asset in any circumstance needed. When a team wins there is occasionally an individual effort that stands out. Meg Nieslanik has grown leaps, bounds and even a few pirouettes since the beginning of the season. Her sparks have ignited momentum we have needed to get wins in matches. Homecoming was no different. Sydney Cook is our stability player. The one player who is consistent on both sides of the ball and rises to action when needed. Her kill percentage has jumped in the past 5 matches to add a threat on the offensive end while remaining our go-to defender when needed. I could write and write about each of the girls on the team. They know that without every player we would not be where we are at today: league champs.
Saturday took us to Plateau Valley to end the regular season. We played with the fundamentals needed to get a win although at times it wasn’t the cleanest volleyball our team has played this season. Kelsey Kendall didn’t take this game lightly though. She was determined to end the season on a positive note. She was able to hit the necessary spots to get points as well as protect our floor with her blocking. It’s fun to watch a player play with the true love of the game.
We will play in the district tournament Friday and Saturday, Oct. 24-25 in Paonia. We hope some of you will be able to join us. A special thank you from the team to everyone who has supported us through the regular season. We hope we have given our fans a reason to watch volleyball again.
Congratulations to the Rangely Panthers and Jimmie Mergelman who finished the regular season with the No. 2 seed in the league. Rio Blanco County will be well represented at the district tournament again this year.