Yuma volleyball going on the road for regional
This whole incredible streak began on the road. Now, if the Yuma High School volleyball team is to keep it going, it will once again have to do it on the road.
It was in 2012 when an up-and-coming YHS volleyball team earned the program’s first regional berth since early the previous decade. They traveled to Resurrection Christian for a regional with the hosts and Dayspring Christian.
The Indians beat Dayspring, but not many gave them a chance against a strong Rez Christian squad. It looked even less likely when they lost the first two sets against the Cougars.
However, they then made a legendary rally with three straight wins to claim the regional title and the program’s first state tournament appearance since 2003.
It was the start of an impressive run that has stretched into seven straight tournament appearances, five straight trips to the state championship match, and state titles in 2015 and 2018.
Yuma has hosted the past six regional rounds, claiming victory after victory in front of the hometown faithful in The Pit.
However, it is time to hit the road again.
The Indians, 12-11, came close but just missed out on being one of the top 12 teams that host in the 36-team regional. They finished thousandths of a percentage point out of 12th in the final 2A Rating Percentage Index standings.
That means as the 13th seed, the Tribe travels to 12th-seed Rye on Friday to take on the Thunderbolts and 25th-seed Calhan. The Indians will play Calhan at 5:30 p.m., then Rye at 7.
Home or away, the goal remains the same — win two matches and return to the 2A tournament in Denver for the eighth straight year.
“Nobody should be happy seeing us come into their gym,” coach Jenny Noble had said last week.
Now we know it will be Rye that will see the defending state champions, the most consistently dominating program in 2A over the past decade, walk through their doors on Friday.
“It wasn’t like it was a punch in the gut,” Noble said having to hit the road for regional. “Maybe we need that new feeling, to go on the road and do it a different way.”
Rye is 15-8 entering the postseason. The Thunderbolts have lost to the likes of Swallows Charter Academy, the No. 33 team in regional, No. 29 Colorado Springs School, No. 6 Simla, No. 8 Fowler, No. 14 Swink and No. 17 Sanford.
Calhan is 11-11, going 3-1 in the Crowley County Tournament last weekend to boost their final RPI standing.
The only common opponent between Yuma and other two teams is Holyoke, which Calhan beat in two sets last weekend in Ordway. Yuma beat Holyoke 3-2 in league play early last month.
“We had a little bit of trouble with Holyoke,” Noble recalled. “If we pay attention and play like we can, we will do great.
“I told the girls it’s ours for the taking,” she said. “The two teams we’re going to play are a lot like us, have had some good moments and some rough spots. If we want to make it, we will.”
Four other Lower Platte Activities Association teams also are in regional.
Wiggins, which Yuma beat last month in Wiggins in an exciting five-set match, is the fifth seed, hosting No. 20 Hoehne and No. 32 Vail Christian this weekend.
Sedgwick County is the ninth seed and hosts No. 16 Fountain Valley and No. 28 Rocky Ford in Region 9.
Yuma lost to Sedgwick County in the season opener, but played the Cougars again this past Tuesday in a “Foundation Game” which does not count in the standings nor RPI. Yuma rolled past Sedgwick County in three sets, sort of avenging its earlier league loss. If nothing else, it gave the Indians one more home match (they had not played in The Pit since mid-October) and some momentum heading into regional.
Akron, the 21st seed, is on the road at No. 4 Union Colony Prep in Greeley, along with Swallows Charter Academy.
Holyoke is No. 26 and is at No. 11 Del Norte along with No. 14 Swink.
The other teams hosting regional are No. 1 Denver Christian, No. 2 Limon (which edged Yuma in five sets in The Pit in September), No. 3 Meeker, No. 6 Simla, No. 7 West Grand, No. 8 Fowler and No. 10 Dolores.
The winner of each of the three-team regionals will advance to the Class 2A State Tournament, next Thursday through Saturday in the Denver Coliseum.
“I told the players I can envision us at the Coliseum,” Noble said, “and if they have trouble envisioning it, that I am here to help them. It takes a lot of positive imaging to see what you can accomplish.”
And the Indians will have to do it down south of Pueblo in Rye, Friday.