TELLURIDE – The Lady Miners volleyball squad kept a five-game winning streak alive on Tuesday, easily overcoming the Nucla Mustangs on Miner home turf.
Telluride won in three quick matches 25-16, 25-15, and 25-7, progressively demonstrating the look of a well-oiled machine. Nucla, with strong but occasionally disorganized offense, gave the Miners a break in game one, as the home team searched for their groove. By the middle of game two, however, the Miners appeared to find their rhythm, climbing from a close score to a ten-point lead thanks in part to unstoppable defense from Emily Langley. Langley spearheaded a late-game Miner rally with a series of kills that left the Mustangs struggling to stay on their feet. With well-timed passing from Emy Ludwig, the Miners pulled away with their second win of the evening.
If Langley could be credited for turning the game in the Miners’ favor in game two, the woman responsible for keeping that momentum going in game three would no doubt be Catalina Madrid. Madrid was first to serve for Telluride in the final game of the evening and chalked up the first ten Telluride points. After a particularly long rally at 6-0 went Telluride’s way, Nucla seemed to lose steam. Madrid continued the onslaught until Nucla finally made a side-out down 10-0. The Mustangs simply couldn’t recover, as the final 25-7 score demonstrated.
With the Tuesday night win, the Miners climbed to a 14-4 record.
Although the Lady Miners won easily over the Mustangs, Coach Fawnda Rogers said after the game that the squad still made some critical errors – mistakes that, if left uncorrected, could come back to haunt them on Halloween weekend when Telluride hosts the District Tournament.
“They did make some critical errors tonight, partly because they relaxed and stopped thinking. This is a team that tends to play up to their competition’s level, but they also play down,” Rogers said.
Telluride will need to have all cylinders firing on Friday, when they play Dolores (a team with particularly strong home town support) on the Bears’ home turf. If the Miners pull out a win over the Bears, who boast a 10-6 record, Telluride will win the no. 2 seed going into the District Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 30. If they lose, they may drop to the no. 3 seed.
Regardless of where the Miners are seeded, Coach Rogers is certain of one thing: The girls will have to work hard on keeping their game tight if they hope to make it to past Districts and into the Regional Tournament in November. The Norwood Mavericks, currently ranked no. 1 in the league, with an impressive 16-1 record, will be an especially tough team to beat.
Rogers said of the final practices leading up to Districts: “We’re really going to work on our blocking and keeping our momentum on the court. They’re going to need to mix it up…It’s all about the girls getting more comfortable.”