Cedaredge High School has taken a step in the right direction toward laying claim to the 2A/1A Western Slope Grand Mesa League title. The Bruins continued their winning ways with wins over rival Paonia and Rangely this past week.
Paonia traveled to Cedaredge on Oct. 1 for a showdown that looked to be a battle royale as the two teams began play in set one. Paonia jumped to a 4-0 lead on the service of Taylor Carsten. Nellie Freeman served safely five straight times to give the Bruins a 7-6 lead, and the race was on.
The lead changed hands many times with each team going on runs to regain the lead. Eventually, Paonia held on for a 25-23 win in the opening set.
Set two was equally challenging. A seven service run from Kenzie Henderson brought Cedaredge from a 20-16 deficit to a 23-20 lead. The Bruins held on to score a 25-22 win and tied the match at 1-1.
Cedaredge seemed to be more in control in the third set and won by a 25-18 score.
The Bruins led from start to finish in set four to post a 25-12 decision.
Henderson had 17 kills to lead Cedaredge's attack at the net and Lydia Knutson followed with 10. Paonia got 12 kills from Emily Pieper.
Ashley Van Vleet and McKenna Hartigan had four blocks for Paonia to lead stats in that category.
Paonia put up plenty of attempts as the Bruins had double-digit digs from Freeman (30), Amber Jenkins (24) and Henderson (19). Taylor Carsten had 19 digs for Paonia.
In Rangely, the Bruins had a couple of tough sets but managed to finish the match with a 3-1 win.
Knutson and Hannah Gilmore finished play with 20 and 16 kills, respectively for the Bruins.
Freeman stayed hot from the service line with four aces and Kendall McHugh had 38 assists.
Jenkins led a group of five players who had double-digit digs with 30.
Paonia coach Krista Carsten was not totally disappointed in her team's physical and emotional play. The thought process was just not there at times when it was needed most. "We had more hitting errors than kills tonight. We need to figure things out. At times we had no fight, and that comes from not being challenged enough in the last three years. We didn't know how to respond in some instances."
Bruins' coach Heather Dunbar noted there was a change her players wanted to try for the game with Paonia. "They wanted to switch some things around and I trusted them. One of the things we want to be known as is scrappers," stated Dunbar. Scrap they did.
Cedaredge plays Meeker on Oct. 10 in Cedaredge at 3 p.m. The following week, on Oct. 16, Cedaredge travels to Meeker for a 5 p.m. contest.