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MEEKER | After losing the Western Slope League championship to its Rio Blanco County rival in the final match of the regular season, Meeker entered the district tournament as the No. 2 seed behind league champion Rangely, but when the two teams met for the district championship last Saturday, Meeker won the title and the opportunity to host a regional tournament this Saturday.
Meeker beat the Rams from South Routt County (Soroco) and West Grand last Friday to win their pool and play Paonia for a second week in a row, winning both times and advancing to the championship match against Rangely.
“What a great weekend for us,” Meeker head coach Greg Cravens said. “I really think this is a tough league and we had to be good all weekend.”
Meeker opened the district tournament with a win in three games against the Rams (25-20, 25-21 and 25-20), then needed four games to beat the Mustangs from West Grand. Meeker won the first two; 25-21 and 27-25, then lost the third game 21-25 before coming back to win the match and their pool with a 25-8 victory in the fourth game.
Both Rio Blanco County teams would beat Paonia in three games, setting up the third meeting between Meeker and Rangely with the Panthers winning the first two.
“To think we had to go back on Saturday and go against Paonia and Rangely again gave me nightmares Friday night,” coach Cravens said. “The girls came ready to play Saturday and it was so exciting to watch. These girls have worked hard to become a team and everyone on the team has a role and they do it well.”
“The consistent play from Krissie (Luce), Kassie (Luce), Lila (Klinglesmith), Micheala Jones and Avery (Watt), is something we can always rely and depend on but it was the play of Sydnie (Main), Julia (Dinwiddie) and Caleigh (Morlan), that was so great to see. To me, we proved to ourselves the level we can play at and now we need to see if we can maintain that level. Our two wins on Saturday to be against Paonia and Rangely made it so special because we know they are both so good.”
By winning the district tournament, the Cowboys will host Paonia and Ridgway in the regional tournament, playing Paonia at 11 a.m., then Ridgway at 2 p.m.
Rangely will play in Telluride against the host school at 11:30 a.m., then play Dolores, the San Juan Basin district champions, at 1 p.m.
The winner of each regional tournament will advance to the 2017 Colorado State Volleyball Championships, along with four spots open to the next best teams on the CHSAA RPI rankings.
“I feel very lucky to take over such a good program that we get the chance to host regionals,” coach Cravens said. “This weekend is going to be another dog fight, as Ridgway is always a good team that makes it to state fairly consistently. Being asked to try to beat Paonia three weekends in a row is going to be a very hard task for any team. It was a goal for us this week and the girls fought to make it happen. We will have to be at our best again but that is why I love this time of year.”