West Grand has strong showing at state completing season with 24-6 record

photo by Mike Wilson |
photo by Mike Wilson | "The fierce West Grand Volleyball team came to play at the CHSAA State Tournament. They advanced into the round of eight, wins over the Del Norte Tigers and Dolores Bears, with losses to the eventual 2nd place Limon Badgers and Simla Cubs. Pictured, Mikayla Shearer, Emma DeSanti, Sage Lechman, A elyn Probst, and Alex Schake celebrate one of their many fine plays."

by Coach Kim Bodemann

It was a good showing for the Lady Mustang volleyball team at the State Tournament last week. West Grand ranked #7 played their first match Thursday, early afternoon, against the #10 Del Norte Tigers. WG is a fairly young team and even for the Seniors, this was the first time at State, and you should could tell at the start of the match. The team played scared and nervous for the first half of the set and was down early, it wasn’t until 6-14 that the girls started getting themselves together and went on a eight-point run to tie the set up at 14 only to let Del Norte then take the lead and go on to take the win 19-25. The next set had the Mustangs leading most of the way when the Tigers took the final five points and win 23-25. With WG down 0-2 the girls were determined and would battle back from the deficit. The purple and gold where mentally tough and showed great teamwork and power to take the next three sets, 25-23, 25-22, and 15-10, moving on to the next round that evening against the Limon Badgers sitting at #2.

Prior to the start of the match vs Limon, I told the girls they had nothing to lose and only everything to gain, that Limon was the #2 and had all the pressure on them. The Mustangs came out and played one of their best matches of the season and upset the Badgers in the first set 25-21. WG was in every set to follow with their extra effort and great teamwork and battled to the end, but lost the next three, 19-25, 22-25, and 19-25. It was a very fun match and exciting to think back that we were right there with Limon, who went on to play in the Championship.

With the loss, it would put WG on the loser side of the bracket but with the chance to still fight back all the way to the championship. This would definitely be a longer road. Our next match was scheduled for Friday at 12:30 against the Dolores Bears sitting at #9. The match started with a back and forth battle that would end with a 25-23 win. But set two showed the Mustangs slowing down and losing their excitement, falling 15-25. Set three was even worse, Dolores had a 6-2 middle that could put the ball away and was a pretty good blocker. In set one, we handled her, but in the following two sets the girls let her get into their heads. I was disappointed in how our girls reacted to this one girl. Yes, she was good, but we have girls just as good, and as a whole team, I really felt like we were way stronger. We lost 9-25.
With so much on the line, the Mustangs had to make the adjustments we had been telling them and go after the Bears. The girls regained their composure and came back determined, made the adjustments, and took the next two sets 25-17 and 15-12. Junior Josy Wheatley made three huge digs off the big girls, at the end of set five to help seal the deal.

It was on to face Simla Cubs that evening, coming in at #6. After watching Simla earlier in the tourney, I felt pretty good about our chances.

I knew, nobody was going to be easy, but I had a great confidence in what our girls could do. The Mustangs battled and did some great things.

Senior Emma DeSanti had some great hits and digs, Sophomore Maddy Probst face packed a gir,l and there was some hard hitting along with some good blocking throughout the match but it just wouldn’t be enough to get us to the next round as WG fell in three, 20-25, 15-25, and 20-25. I’m so very proud of these girls and they should be very proud of themselves. Every girl played a part in our success! No reason at all to hang their heads! One thing I feel stands out about this team is they never ever gave up. They kept their heads through the entire season and fought back many times to be victorious! They are all pretty versatile as well. A lot of the girls played different positions at different times during the season.

The team will be losing seniors DeSanti, Mikayla Shearer and Charish Jansen., but will be returning juniors Probst, Wheatley, sophomores Alex Schake, Audree Miller, Junior Cirenda Cordova, Iliana Castillo and freshman Sage Lechman. Also, during State, all the girls got some play time, which some never step on the floor for other teams. These girls finished their season 24-6.

Helping coach this year with Scott Terryberry and I, was Hailey McNichols, and we had two great managers in Junior Charlie Multerer and Sophomore Alex Bergman. Thank you to all the parents, and great fans for all their support, and Mike Wilson for his awesome photos.