Yuma regional features top two teams in 2A
It is hard to imagine regional volleyball being any better than a rematch of the previous season’s state championship match.
It gets even better when one realizes the two teams are No. 1 and No. 2 in the Ratings Percentage Index.
That’s the situation facing volleyball fans Friday afternoon in The Pit when the Yuma High School team hosts the Class 2A Region F pool playoffs.
Yuma, 20-1, is hosting regional after winning its fifth straight 2A District 2 title, last Thursday in The Pit, sweeping past Wray and Wiggins.
The Indians will welcome Haxtun, 16-4 and the third seed out of last week’s District 2, and Dayspring Christian, 20-3, the second seed out of District 7.
Yuma and Dayspring squared off in the 2A championship match last year. Dayspring beat an exhausted Yuma squad, which had to survive a very difficult pool as well as the loss of their top senior to injury, in four sets.
“A little rematch from the final last year,” coach Jenny Noble said. “I haven’t talked to the girls much about it yet, but it’ll be exciting. It also will be good to see what they have before the state tournament.”
Both teams have remained at or near the top of 2A throughout the 2017 season. Yuma currently is No. 1 in the 2A RPI, the main resource for seeding in the state tournament. Dayspring lost to Lyons for the District 7 championship, but still is No. 2 in the RPI, while Lyons is No. 6.
Joining those two is another salty team in Haxtun, which finished second to Yuma in the Lower Platte Activities Association during the regular season, then took third in District 2, losing to Wiggins and then beating Wray.
Friday’s action begins at 3 p.m. with Yuma taking on Haxtun, then Dayspring playing Haxtun, with Yuma-Dayspring closing it out.
Haxtun could find itself out of the 12-team 2A tournament field if it does not at least win one match Friday. The regional champion will automatically receive a berth, as will the other seven regional champs. The next four-highest teams in the RPI will grab the four wildcards to round out the state field, which will be played November 10-11 in the Denver Coliseum.
Yuma and Dayspring are almost assured of claiming a wildcard if if they don’t win Region F.
Noble was asked if that doesn’t take some of the luster off of Friday.
“I don’t think so,” she said. “We want to win. We want to set the tone, show we are the No. 1 team. We want them to not want to see us at state until the end.”
Ironically, Yuma could win the Region F title, which would be its sixth consecutive regional championship, but still possibly fall behind Dayspring in the final RPI that will be used to seed the state field. The RPI takes into account a team’s winning percentage, its opponents winning percentage, and its opponents opponents winning percentage. Dayspring will pick up Yuma’s strong RPI numbers, which could possibly push the Eagles to the top spot even if they lost to the Indians on Friday.
Noble had the best advice for dealing with the vagaries of the RPI.
“I just hope we win out, win out, win out, and it’s not going to matter,” she said.
Some of Class 2A’s best hitters will be in Yuma on Friday, featuring Chasey Blach and Cody Robinson of Yuma, Dayspring’s Katie Kurz and Megan Roberts, and Haxtun’s Dawson Knode and Marissa Schelling.
However, Noble noted the big hitting all begins on the back line with serve receive and digs.
“Our passing and hitting efficiency has been pretty good lately,” she said. “Last week I thought it was the best it’s been. Consistent passes just helps the setters and the hitters do their job. I’m pretty happy with our serve receive. It leads to bigger things.”