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RANGELY | The Western Slope League volleyball championship title was not determined until the final match of the regular season between the two Rio Blanco High school teams, played in the county seat but it was the visiting team, who won the title. Now both Meeker and Rangely will play Friday in pool play of the District 5 tournament in Parachute, with the winner of each pool playing Saturday for seeding in the state-qualifying regional tournament the following week.
Rangely had beaten Meeker earlier in the season in a non-league match but the Panthers lost a league match to West Grand. Meeker entered the final match of the regular season, undefeated in league play, after a big win against the Eagles in Paonia, the night before, then lost to its county rival in three games.
“The weekend was quite the roller coaster ride, with incredible highs and some lows but the lows will make us stronger,” Meeker head coach Greg Cravens said. “We had our best offensive night Friday with a total of 59 kills as a team. After a late night Friday night we were back in the gym by noon Saturday, with a chance for an out-right league championship but Rangely had us on our heels the whole match. They had a good game plan and they executed it very well. Our offense never got going Saturday and we couldn’t find ways to score against the Panthers.
Rangely won the match and the Western Slope League title in three games, 25-18, 25-21 and 28-26. The Panthers will be the No. 1 seed in the district tournament and in Pool A with Hotchkiss and the No. 9 seed, which will be determined with a pigtail game Tuesday.
Meeker will be the No. 2 seed in Pool B, with West Grand and the No. 8 seed (yet to be determined) and Pool C will include Vail Christian and Paonia, along with No. 7 seed, Plateau Valley.
Rangely will play the No. 9 seed at 9:30 Friday and then Hotchkiss at 12:30 p.m. Meeker will play the No. 8 seed at 2 p.m., then play West Grand at 3:30 p.m.