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Bayfield volleyball ‘ready to launch’ at Monte Vista

Wolverines eager to return to floor, home or away

On her roster sent to Ignacio High School to be included in the program for last Saturday’s season-opening, non-league triangular held inside IHS Gymnasium, Monte Vista head coach Elaine Wenta’s comments to her players were left for all to read:

“This may or may not be your permanent placement,” read the all-caps verbiage. “Only you will determine whether you want to play up, play down, lose position, or playing time.”

Sure enough, for one reason or another, multiple junior-varsity players were given varsity jerseys and the chance to show what they could do against strong 2A competition offered by both IHS and Del Norte.

The Pirates’ 2019 campaign picked up where a 1-21 2018 left off. And when Saturday afternoon rolls around, it’s quite probable MVHS will go into their home opener standing 0-3 after beginning 3A Intermountain League play two nights before at untested Centauri.

Results from La Jara were unavailable at press time but were likely of little concern to Bayfield, now to venture to Monte Vista for a 2 p.m. start after finding out both teams’ schedules showed each side visiting the other.

“I found out this afternoon; in fact, it was probably about 1 o’clock when I learned of the change,” BHS head coach Terene Foutz said after Wednesday evening’s practice, at which her squad dealt with the reality they won’t be playing on their home court until much later this month. “They were excited to play at home in front of family and friends, so they’re a little bummed about not having that opportunity this weekend. So, our (first) home match’s going to be further down in September, but at the same time, as I said to them, there’s going to be a wonderful cluster of home matches the latter half of the regular season that we can benefit from.”

And a quality showing at Monte Vista can only help the rising Wolverines, who will play their first match since stunning 5A Piedra Vista. Then, it’s an eagerly-anticipated trip out to Monument for the challenging Lewis-Palmer Invitational slated for Sept. 14.

“We are a team ready to launch, all 12 kids healthy,” Foutz stated. “They’re getting after it with and against each other every day, and the energy is high in the gym. It’s probably the deepest roster we’ve had in quite a while here and presents some lineup options and different strategies and adjustments inside of the game.”

At the 12-team Invitational, BHS will get the ultimate test right off the bat, facing defending Class 4A state champion Lewis-Palmer, which is still ranked No. 1 in the CHSAANow.com 4A poll entering this weekend.

The Wolverines will then square off against 4A Thompson Valley before waiting for all pool-play matches to conclude and the teams to then be reseeded for crossover action determining the final placing-match pairings.

“We’re approaching our season competitively,” said Foutz. “We are going to compete against whoever’s across the net from us, and, hopefully, our training and team culture will help us rise to get some wins as a result.”

VOLLEYCATS VAULT UP: Earning classification-wide attention via a 25-12, 25-12, 25-17 rout of MVHS and subsequent 17-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-23 defeat of Del Norte, which qualified for the 2018 Class 2A state championships, Ignacio went from being an unknown to the highest-rated “Others Receiving Votes” team in this week’s CHSAANow.com 2A poll.

Positioned just outside the top 10, Thad Cano’s Bobcats (2-0) solidified their newfound status Thursday evening in 2A/1A San Juan Basin League-opening 3-0 win at Ridgway. The Bobcats will visit Mancos on Sept. 12.

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