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Bruin seniors go out winners at state VB

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Photo by Eric Goold Hannah Gilmore (33) and Nellie Freeman (11) go up for the block against Kiowa's Helen Janes (21) during pool play at the volleyball state tournament. Cedaredge won this match in four sets, earning the Bruins' seven seniors a win in the

The outstanding group of seniors on the Cedaredge High School girls' volleyball team finished with a victory.

Cedaredge beat Kiowa on the second day of the state volleyball championship tournament at the Denver Coliseum last weekend in four sets 25-14, 20-25, 25-19, 25-22 and sent the Bruin seniors out as winners.

"Not everybody gets to go out on a win, that's what I told them," Cedaredge coach Heather Dunbar said. "I guess that's a positive of this pool play, they get to go out in their last game and win. They're awesome. We're going to miss them so much."

The seniors who helped the Bruins reach the state tournament for the first time since 1989 made their presence felt against Kiowa.

In the first set win, Kenzie Henderson had a kill to give the Bruins a 20-8 advantage, then Lydia Knutson's tip over the net on game point secured the victory. The third set was tied several times before two kills from Nellie Freeman put the Bruins ahead for good.

Amber Jenkins dived for a dig that had the Bruins bench on its feet screaming in the fourth set. Freeman's tip made it 15-12 for Cedaredge, then Knutson's kill gave the Bruins an 18-14 cushion. Henderson nailed two more kills and the Bruins finished off the match.

"That's what these kids have been known for all year," Dunbar said. "They just never go away and they never say die. Just hustle, hustle, hustle. That's what they showed again today."

Cheyenne Stone, Kendall McHugh and Lacey Love were the other three seniors who made it to state for Cedaredge.

Standout junior Hannah Gilmore, who led the team in hitting at the state tournament, will be returning next year hoping to return to state competition.

The Bruins, who won two out of three matches against Paonia this season, won their region championship and earned a spot in Pool 2 at the state tournament with Kiowa and eventual 2A state champion Yuma.

Yuma, led by 6-foot-1 University of Wyoming signee Tara Traphagan, was too tough for Cedaredge to handle in the next-to-last game of the first day at the state tournament and the Bruins fell 14-25, 10-25, 22-25.

"Yuma is an amazing team and I wouldn't be surprised if they go ahead and win the whole thing," Dunbar said. "Our kids haven't been over here yet and I think we were a little bit star struck coming into the first round. Even though we were smaller I think we could have put up a better showing."

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