Unable to prolong their season into one of 12 Class 2A volleyball regional tournaments, Ignacio had to settle simply for one last taste of success.
Traveling east into Pueblo County for the Oct. 26-27 Rye Invitational, IHS managed to sweep 3A Trinidad and improve to 8-15 overall, while the Miners dropped to a 2018-ending 7-16.
The Volleycats finished 43rd in CHSAA's last regular-season RPI calculations, while just 36 teams qualified for the postseason and were seeded into their respective three-team brackets by those figures.
Looking for a more competitive showing than in an 11-25, 16-25, 11-25 loss at 3A Montezuma-Cortez on Oct. 23, the 'Cats hit Rye High School running and channeled their energy directly into the Thunderbolts with an electric 28-26 Game 1 win. But in getting match-bests of 19 kills and 23 digs from senior Rachel Shaffer, Rye recovered from the shocker to take Game 2 by a massive 25-9 margin.
Game 3 was more to Ignacio's liking, though the Thunderbolts held on to win 25-20 and gain the advantage in the match. Protecting their home floor - as well as their standing in the classification's RPI table - RHS controlled Game 4 25-11 to secure a shaky 3-1 victory.
Day 2 at the event began with the 'Cats challenging 2A Sanford - a battle between schools more prone to seeing each other on a postseason basketball court - and challenging well. Sanford held off IHS' approaches in Game 1, winning 25-23, and gained more breathing room with a 25-14 win in Game 2.
Seeking to at least build some sort of momentum to face THS, if not completely stun the Indians in five beforehand, Ignacio fought Sanford hard in Game 3 but fell 29-27.
Rye - rulers of the 2A Santa Fe League - could have thanked the Volleycats for wearing Sanford down, as they then rolled 25-12, 25-6, 25-17 in the tournament's championship match and improved to 19-3 overall prior to hosting 2A-Region VII on Saturday, Nov. 3.
From the San Juan Basin League's 2A side, only Dolores will see the postseason, as the Bears, winners of all four of their matches at the Oct. 27 Gunnison Invitational, will head to Del Norte for Region VI. Del Norte (21-2) will get things started facing Rocky Ford (9-14), with Dolores (17-3) following against Rocky Ford and then tussling with the Del Norte Tigers, whose only losses to date were at Swink on Oct. 20 and at home versus Alamosa way back on Aug. 24.
Presently 23-0 overall, Alamosa - the 3A Intermountain champion - will host 3A-Region II on Nov. 3, with Buena Vista (10-12) and Denver Science & Tech (18-5) attending.