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MEEKER I The middle school volleyball season concluded with a fantastic nine-team tournament hosted by Steamboat Springs Saturday. With new competition and the opportunity to play five matches in one day, this was a day made for avid volleyball fans, and especially for young volleyball participants. Both Rangely and Meeker girls were up and on the road early to participate in the tournament and it proved to be well worth the trip for all the Rio Blanco County teams.
Rangely headed into their final weekend with both their seventh and eighth grade teams undefeated. The eighth grade team showed early and often what has kept them unbeaten all season as their strong play at the net and overall team volleyball was too much for Meeker and Grand Valley early in the day.
The first matches were actually just one game to 30, while the final bracketed matches were back to the regular format. The seventh grade team from Rangely also advanced out of their pool with two decisive wins in the morning session. With three pools of three, the top three teams played for the championship honors, the next three for “silver” bragging rights, and the remaining three in the “bronze” pool. The Panthers went into the final pool of the day without a loss at any level, and completed their undefeated run winning both tournaments.
It was not without a fight for Rangely, facing a tough North Park team that proved they were a team to reckon with as soon as they walked on the floor. The level of play was impressive, particularly for this age group. If this was the sneak peak for the future high school games, they will be “must see” events.
The Meeker seventh and eighth grade teams also ended their season with victories. The eighth grade girls fell to Rangely in the morning session in a close 25-30 loss. The lady Cowboys showed they have a ton of heart as they came back to win their consolation bracket by defeating both teams in their pool. The seventh grade team had some difficulty serving gut found a way to pull back together and win their final match of the day. The coaches are all very proud of the work the girls have done, and the improvement they have seen.
Congratulations to the Panthers for their unbeaten seasons and tournament championships as well as all the participants and coaches from all the teams.