RIDGWAY VOLLEYBALL STATE TOURNAMENTFRIDAY, NOV. 8, 2013
By Bill Tiedje
The Ridgway High School girls volleyball squad was defeated by the Meeker Cowboys in three games during at the state tournament in Denver on Fri., Nov. 8 but played hard to the last point.
Starting the first game strong, Ridgway led seven to two at the first timeout.
Meeker came back strong with solid hits and a persistent defense. The Cowboys won the first game 25 to 21.
In game two, the Cowboys continued the barrage of strong hits and Ridgway struggled to find their rhythm as Meeker held a steady lead throughout much of the game.
"We didn't play our best, we know we can do better," Team Captain Leta McNatt remarked after the match.
Ridgway started game three with a lead after several strong serves from freshman Ara Norwood.
Meeker then took the lead as Ridgway saw points slip away to close misses and net faults.
As the final points of game three accumulated, Ridgway combined strong serves, hits and volleys to tie Meeker at 22 points.
However, Meeker's consistent play carried them to a 25 to 23 victory over Ridgway, ending the match.
Despite the loss, Ridgway's team morale remained high.
"We're just really excited to be here," Team Captain Grace Benasutti commented.
Ridgway's 2A leading hitter, sophomore Kaitlyn Rutherford said the season had been a dream come true.
"The first day of practice we talked about going to state and now we're here," Rutherford reflected.
Rutherford's grandparents were among the crowd of Ridgway supporters who followed the bus from Ridgway to watch the match.
"We're so proud," said Barbara Lauer, Rutherford's grandmother. "I think this is huge for the school."
Lauer noted Ridgway's turnaround from last year with only five wins and 15 losses in the 2012 - 2013 season compared to this year's record of 20 wins and only four losses, propelling the team to the state tournament as a 2A Wild Card.
On Sat., Nov. 9, Ridgway will play the number one seeded Resurrection Christian Cougars.
After the match, Head Coach Tracy Hill referred to her team captains for comments to on the match. "It's about (the team)," Hill remarked.
"If we stay focused, we can take them," said Rutherford, in regards to the upcoming match against Resurrection Christian.
Benasutti said the coming Monday without volleyball practice would be hard for the graduating seniors but they couldn't be happier to be at the state tournament.
"It's sad, but it's been a really amazing season," Benasutti remarked. "We've had a lot of support even though it's so far away."
Students at Ridgway high school watched the match live on a projector in the Ridgway gymnasium.