Creede Miners girls’ volleyball team is headed to LaVeta in Huerfano County east of LaVeta Pass on Saturday as they competes against their counterparts, the top-ranked Dragons from Debeque, Colorado, and LaVeta Redskins in the Regional Tournament for A1 schools.
Entry into the regional competition this weekend comes on the heels of local girls’ victory over Cotopaxi, three wins and one loss, in the district tournament at Mosca, Colorado, last Saturday, October 28 (won game 1 – 25-17; lost game 2 – 22-25; won game 3 – 25-21; won game 4 – 26-24).
Head coach Melanie Freedle of Creede and assistant coach Katie Elkins, Lake City, praise the girls’ commitment and focus which took them to the district and now regional finals. In their games against Cotopaxi, says Elkins, “they really brought it all… they played so well together.”
“All in all, it was a lot of fun being at the District Finals. The capacity crowd was energized and that, in turn, boosted the girls,” Elkins said.
Last weekend’s district tournament among top-ranked Southern Peak District teams featured the best of the best, the Creede team entering the tournament ranked third overall within the district.
In addition to their victory over Cotopaxi, varsity girls from Creede and Lake City on the Miners team also competed in the district regionals against undefeated LaVeta, losing three games in succession (11-25; 22-25; 19-25), and won two games and lost three games against Sangre de Cristo (lost game 1 – 24-26; won game 2 – 25-23; lost game 3 – 25-27; won game 4 – 26-24; lost game 5 – 10-15).
As they advance to the Regional Tournament this Saturday, the Miners are ranked 183rd in the state with an enviable 16-win, 7-loss record stretching from pre-season, into the regular season and including last week’s appearance in the District Tournament.
In LaVeta on Saturday, the Miners will compete in the Regionals against Debeque’s Dragons varsity volleyball team, with a 200th place ranking in the state, 11 wins and 10 losses, and the LaVeta Redskins team which is ranked 73rd in Colorado with a remarkable 23 wins and no loss record for this season.
Asked for her predications on the Miners’ appearance in the Regional Finals on Saturday, Elkins states that local girls “have the ability to pull out a win over lower-ranked Debeque. “They have the skills,” she says, “and they can get this done.”
Elkins is a bit more cautious in referring to the skill levels of the undefeated LaVeta Redskins who have an added advantage playing on their home turf on Saturday.
“They are a very strong team,” says the Lake City coach. “The Miners have the ability to beat them if they play at their full potential,” she says. She adds that LaVeta has been a “fun team” to play against this season. Terming the LaVeta Redskins a “solid team,” she says they make “our team play sharper.”
The lineup at this Saturday’s Regional Tournament in LaVeta pits the Creede Miners against LaVeta at 11 a.m., followed by the Miners vs. Debeque Dragons at 12:30 p.m.
The final set of games is scheduled 2 p.m. Saturday when LaVeta plays against Debeque.
Elkins urges a strong local turnout at Saturday’s finals, including a large fan turnout from both Creede and Lake City. “Come out and cheer the team on,” says Elkins, “for the girls, the louder the spectators are, the better they play.” Travel time from Lake City to LaVeta via LaVeta Pass is estimated to take 3-1/2 hours; members of the miners team from Lake City, along with assistant coach Elkins, plan to drive to Creede and spend the night on Friday, and then continue on to LaVeta early Saturday.
Out of the three teams in the Regionals — Creede, LaVeta and Debeque — only one will advance to the State Volleyball Finals for 1A schools which will be held in Denver on November 11.
There is a slim possibility that the runnerup second place team in the Regionals will be invited as one of four wildcard teams state-wide to be invited to take part in the finals.
For the second and third place finishers on Saturday it is in all liklihood the end of the season. Coach Elkins emphasizes that win or lose, “this has been a fantastic season for our Lake City and Creede girls junior varsity and varsity volleyball teams.”
In terms of the Miners’ working their way to the Regional Finals, Elkins smiles broadly, “this is the furthest they’ve ever come, I’m so proud of these girls getting to the District and Regional Finals!”
According to the national sports website MaxPreps, Miner team leaders include Olivia Madrid, a Creede High School Senior, who is credited with 52 Serving Aces and 173 Assists. Serving Aces are explained as serves which are not recoverable by the opposing team; Madrid’s Assists successfully setting the ball for a killer spike.
In addition to Madrid, another Creede player, Chloe McComas, is credited for 135 Receptions this past season in which she was the first point of contact in an opponent’s serve.
Topping the list of Miner team leaders, according to MaxPreps, is Lake City’s Sophia Borchers who is cited for kills (up for a spike resulting in points) resulting in 94 points for the season through last Saturday’s District Final; 19 Blocks, and 135 Digs in which a spike of the ball from the opposing team was successfully deflected.