A three-game losing streak greeted Ce’rra Westerman and her Paonia Eagles volleyball team in 2021 and it took a five-set match to snap it. Last Saturday’s 3-2 win over visiting West Grand got the monkey off Paonia’s back and the feeling is grand.

“Saturday’s game against West Grand was a breakthrough game for us,” stated Coach Westerman. “We changed our lineup by moving Leia Ellenberger into the lineup as a middle blocker. She did a great job blocking at the net and had four total blocks for the game.”

Westerman also moved sophomore Payton Fister to an outside hitter where she turned in “a wonderful job defensively and attacking — with 48 attempts and eight kills and only eight errors,” said Westerman. Fister also served well noted Westerman with four aces.

Sophomore Delilah Vasquez also had a game to remember with a career high 16 kills.

After moving the Eagles’ offense to a 5-1 set, senior Ceylon Carter dished out 26 assists and played an all-around solid game with nothing hitting the ground in her area according to Westerman. Junior Princessa Mora was a force in the receiving department for the Eagles as she recorded 50 receptions in the match.

“We should have won in three,” stated Westerman, “but we gave up a big lead in the third game and just didn’t have enough time to win it.”

Paonia lost the set 25-23. The Eagles stayed focused in the fourth set but lost a 25-22 decision to the Mustangs to tie the match at 2-2. Westerman was concerned her team might have gotten too tired after playing four tough sets. “The girls worked hard all 15 points and stayed focused in the fifth set. They wanted to win. I think this was their breakthrough game,” quoted Westerman.

Earlier in the week, Cedaredge had delivered a 3-0 loss to Paonia with Vasquez getting eight kills for the Eagles. Cedaredge won the first set 25-16 and took the second set 25-17 before ending the match on a 25-8 win in a third set.

Against Plateau Valley on Friday, Paonia was held at arm’s length in scoring with the Cowboys winning three straight sets 25-19, 25-12 and 25-20.

Paonia is in Edwards on Thursday, April 1, for junior varsity and varsity matches at 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. The following Monday, April 5, Paonia hosts Vail Mountain for games at 4 and 5 p.m. and entertains Hotchkiss on Thursday, April 8, for games at 4 and 5 p.m.

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