Paonia’s Caitlin Swanbom taps down a hit from Soroco junior Lindsay Miles on Saturday during the Class 2A high school girls district volleyball tournament Saturday in Rangely.  The home-team Panthers dominted the four-team competition to earn one of two regional tournament berths. Paonia, the lowest seed, shocked Hayden and Soroco and went 2-1 on the day to take the other ticket to the regional tournament.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Paonia’s Caitlin Swanbom taps down a hit from Soroco junior Lindsay Miles on Saturday during the Class 2A high school girls district volleyball tournament Saturday in Rangely. The home-team Panthers dominted the four-team competition to earn one of two regional tournament berths. Paonia, the lowest seed, shocked Hayden and Soroco and went 2-1 on the day to take the other ticket to the regional tournament.

Soroco, Hayden volleyball teams miss chances to advance

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2010 Tigers volleyball schedule

— Saturday was a day of confusion in Rangely, and Soroco and Hayden high school volleyball players, coaches, parents and fans spent much of their time at the four-team district tournament considering records, points and tiebreakers.

Everyone wanted to know what their team had to do to be one of the two teams to survive the murky mess the tournament was for much of the day.

Disappointing late-day losses by the Rams and the Tigers answered all questions, however, much to the dismay of the large Routt County crowd that had made the trip.

Soroco consoled itself by remembering this was a season like it hadn’t had in years. Hay­den took some comfort from a day of tough, gritty performances.

Rangely and Paonia took the tickets to next weekend’s regional tournament in Palisade.

“This was the best season we’ve had. The girls need to keep that in mind,” Soroco coach Kim Reeves said. “Now, we have to look forward to next year.”

Entering the day’s action, the Routt County teams thought the winner of their early morning match-up would have the leg up in joining powerhouse Rangely at regionals.

By that logic, Soroco should have been a shoo-in as the Rams beat the Tigers for the second consecutive time.

Soroco, by all accounts outpacing Hayden on defense and with overall intensity, won in three games, 25-21, 25-22, 25-22.

The Rams rallied in each of the first two, overcoming late deficits with long serving streaks to pass, then put away the Tigers.

“We were having a lot of fun out there,” Soroco senior Corey Snyder said.

Soroco spent the rest of the day trying to again find that intensity. Without it, the team struggled in losses against Paonia and Rangely.

Paonia, who the Rams beat handily earlier in the season, constantly tipped the ball around the net, often good for points against suddenly slow Soroco, and put up a bevy of big blocks on defense, frustrating the Rams’ attempts to hit their way back into the match.

Rangely simply overpowered Soroco, smashing away any hope.

“We lost our momentum against Paonia. They came out with a lot of intensity, and we couldn’t match it,” Soroco junior Shel­­by Miles said. “We have a lot of seniors on our team, so we’re sad this ended the way it did. We should have done better for them. Still, with beating Hayden and everything else that happened this season, our team hasn’t done that well for a long time.”

Hayden, meanwhile, had no trouble drumming up intensity after its morning defeat.

It never managed to turn that into wins, however, and lost back-to-back, gut-wrenching five-game matches.

The Tigers had top-seed Ran­ge­­ly on the ropes after bouncing back from a 20-10 second-game deficit to even the match at one game. Hayden took the third, but the Tigers faltered as the Panthers’ powerful weapons took over, and Rangely eventually won the fifth set, 15-11.

“Usually, when people get down to Rangely by 10 points in a game, it’s over, but we battled back there like we’ve done all year,” senior Morgan Bell said.

Hayden had one final chance to force a set of tie-breaking games but ran out of gas late against Paonia.

The Tigers led, 2-1, in the match, but enthusiasm gave way to fatigue, and errors took over as the Eagles surged to win in five.

“It’s really hard to play two five-game matches in a row,” Bell said.

Had Hayden squeaked past Paonia, the Tigers, the Eagles and the Rams likely would have been 1-2 on the day, and they would have played a short round robin tiebreaker.

As it was, all the figuring was for naught, and Hayden and Soroco ended their seasons.

“It’s tough losing, but we played our hardest. We just ran out of fuel,” Hayden senior Kali McFadden said. “We gave it our best. That’s all you can do.”

Results

Soroco def. Hayden, 25-21, 25-22, 25-22

Paonia def. Soroco, 25-18, 25-13, 17-25, 25-23

Rangely def. Soroco, 25-18, 25-16, 25-22

Paonia def. Hayden, 22-25, 26-24, 21-25, 25-22, 15-9

Rangely def. Hayden, 25-22, 23-25, 22-25, 25-15, 15-11

Rangely def. Paonia, 25-14, 25-18, 25-11

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