Trumped by mistakes and Telluride's unexpected service-line prowess, Ignacio desperately needed to regroup and reinforce a belief in each other before facing a new-look Norwood in the second of their two varsity matches last Saturday.
"I think we started off slow and just needed to really stick to our fundamentals," sophomore Makayla Howell said. "That's what we were really having troubles with; talking and staying as a team, that affects us the most."
"With the team, like, if the team is getting down, or one person on the team's getting down, it kind of brings everyone down," said senior Caitlyn Mulcahy. "So we were all building each other up, building energy."
Having already lost 16-25, 25-27, 25-14, 19-25 two days earlier to Dove Creek, and then 18-25, 23-25, 12-25 to Telluride, the Volleycats simply refused to not only lose a third consecutive 2A/1A San Juan Basin League match, but lose a third straight of any kind on their own floor.
Entering the day as the top 'Others Receiving Votes' team in the week's CHSAANow.com Class 2A poll, IHS got eight kills from sophomore Morgan Herrera and four from Mulcahy in defeating the Mavericks 26-24, 25-16, 17-25, 25-18.
Freshman Marisa Carmenoros-inserted at setter by head coach Thad Cano to allow senior incumbent Shoshone Thompson to don a libero jersey and shore up the back row-logged 15 assists. Thompson responded well to the defensive move and came up with a team-high nine digs.
Herrera totaled seven digs and three blocks, while Howell recorded three blocks, four digs and fired four service aces, equaling Carmenoros and junior Misty Egger-Morris. Egger-Morris and junior Kiana Valdez each came up with five digs as well.
"The game against Telluride was really not our best; we definitely could have done better," Mulcahy said, informed the Miners (5-1, 1-1 SJBL) had actually been missing starting setter Sydney Evans and starting middle Jessica Pack. "But this game was good; we tried our hardest and pushed, battled for the victory."
Up next, Ignacio (1-3, 1-2) will host Ouray and Ridgway on Saturday, Sept. 16, then visit Mancos on the 21st. Results from Ignacio's Sept. 14 match versus Dolores were unavailable at press time.
"We're still trying to figure out our rotations and see how we work together," Howell said. "But we're all family, so of course we're going to make it work, no matter what."
"We'll probably just do like what we did today: Just make sure that we're all very supportive of each other, very ready to get out and play and fight!" stated Mulcahy.
UNIQUE SITUATION: If the name 'Caitlyn Mulcahy' doesn't ring a bell with IHS fans, it's not surprising. Mulcahy actually attends Animas High School on the west side of Durango.
"This past year, I live closer to out here (Ignacio), so me and my mom were like, 'Let's try it out at Ignacio!' And so I did," she said. "I've played at Durango High School in the past. And Four Corners Volleyball Club, so that's, like, my volleyball history."
Part of DHS' C-team as a freshman and sophomore, Mulcahy focused on refining her game her junior year playing with the FCVBC 18-Ron squad under Farmington Piedra Vista head coach Ron Becker, but knew Cano's eyes were never far away.
"Over the summer I worked with him on my jump-serves-he was experimenting with that and trying to help me improve," Mulcahy said. "He definitely has seen me play before, so he knows I can be an aggressive player when I want to be. So he's just kind of expecting me to show that, bring that to the team."