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Ignacio High School volleyball takes care of Mancos in sweep

Bobcats record 11 service aces in win
Joel Priest/Pine River Times file<br><br>Ignacio High School’s Makayla Howell recorded seven kills in Tuesday night’s win over Mancos.

The Ignacio High School volleyball team took care of business Tuesday night at Ignacio High School, as the Bobcats recorded 11 service aces, and were efficient on offense in a three-set sweep over Mancos, 25-16, 25-20 and 25-15.

The Bobcats (8-6, 4-4 2A/1A San Juan Basin League) had a strong performance at the service line, as three Bobcats recorded at least three aces on the night. Head coach Thad Cano was pleased with his team’s effort, and said it was another good effort on serve.

“Our serve-receive game was super strong tonight,” Cano said. “We talked about great placement at the service line to keep Mancos out of system, so we’d get those free balls to run our offense. It was really good focus on where the ball was put down. It doesn’t have to be hit hard all the time, and we were able to find those open spots and get that ball down on the floor.”

Freshman outside hitter Grace Gonzales paced the Bobcats with eight kills, Makayla Howell had seven and Lexy Young had six. Five Bobcats earned at least 10 points on the night, as Howell and Gonzales each had 12.

In the first set, IHS recorded six service aces, and after junior setter Marisa Carmenoros recorded her first and only ace of the match at 16-11, Mancos called its first timeout. IHS would go on to close out the set on a 9-5 run to take the first set 25-16.

In the second set, the Bluejays (4-9, 3-5 SJBL) kept it close for the fist half of the set, after a kill from Magdalena Halls knotted the game at 8-8. The Bobcats responded with a 6-0 run, and made it 14-8 after Howell served up two aces. IHS was able to get out to a commanding nine-point lead at 24-15, but were unable to close it out, as the ‘Jays continued to battle. Mancos put together a 5-0 run and it was 24-20 before Cano called a timeout.

“I just told them right there that they had to focus and do your job,” Cano said. “Mancos did a great job of fighting back right there. We weren’t focused, and weren’t able to put it away right there. After the timeout, they settled down and did their job.”

After the team talk, Howell slammed home a set-winning kill for the 25-20 second set win.

In the final set, Ignacio was able to get off to a quick lead, and would extend the lead to five points midway through the set on an ace from Charlize Valdez. Howell recorded back-to-back kills to make it 12-5. IHS then cruised to a final set victory, as the Bobcats won the final set, 25-15.

“We’ve been practicing serving a lot,” Gonzales said. “It’s kind of getting tiring, but, in the end, it’s coming together really well. We’re a strong serving team, and it’s all set up from our passing. Tonight, we had good hitting, passing and serving and were able to execute our offense as planned. We wanted to come out and get them back, because we lost at their gym, and we were able to do that.”

Cano is hopeful that the Bobcats can build off of the home win as the league season winds down.

“Our focus right there is to stay in the top 36 for the RPI so we can make regionals,” Cano said. “Every win in league is big for us. We are already moving on from what happened earlier in the season, and we’re focused on finishing out the league season strong.”

IHS will travel to Class 2A No. 10 Telluride (14-2, 5-1 SJBL) at 11 a.m. Saturday at Telluride High School.

bploen@durangoherald.com