COLFAX — The Colfax-Mingo volleyball team showed marked improvement from the opening weekend of the season on Sept. 4.
The Tigerhawks played right with Class 1A No. 14 HLV point for point most of the way in the first two sets. The final parts of both sets went to the Warriors though, and HLV won the match in a 25-18, 25-18, 25-15 sweep.
C-M volleyball coach Michelle Grant doesn’t want to use inexperience and youth as an excuse, but she played up to three freshmen at one time again against HLV. She also shifted around her lineup to find some answers on the outside.
“I hate that being the thing. I hate having to say that we’re young all the time, but I am still playing three freshmen at one time a lot,” Grant said. “We don’t have a ton of juniors and seniors out there.”
Grant made a few lineup changes to fix the hitting errors her team has often been plagued by this year. She moved sophomore Kira Warrick from libero to outside hitter, used senior Chelsea Russell as a second setter in a 6-2 formation and put senior Shaylee Shedenhelm at libero.
For the most part, Grant liked the changes but still is searching for answers on the outside.
“We are still shuffling the lineup a bit to figure some things out,” Grant said. “We are trying to find an outside hitter that won’t kill us on errors. Our hitting errors are our biggest issue right now.”
The opening two sets were essentially even most of the way.
The first set was tied nine times before HLV (2-6 overall, 1-1 in the SICL) rolled off five straight to go up 15-11. The Tigerhawks got within 17-14 and 21-18 before the Warriors closed out the win with a 4-0 run.
Colfax-Mingo (1-6, 0-1) was even better in the second set. There were 10 ties with the final one coming at 17-all.
Before that, the Tigerhawks rallied from a 12-9 deficit to go up 15-12. That 6-0 run included four aces by freshman setter Kyra Lester.
HLV got back momentum with a 5-0 run. With the set even at 17-all, the Warriors rolled off six in a row before closing it out.
“When other teams go on their big runs, we seem to have two or three hitting errors on ourselves that help them,” Grant said. “We are trying to stop the bleeding there. We are looking for more options.”
The Warriors got going quicker in the third set. Led by senior Maci Boots, the Warriors turned a 6-4 advantage into a 14-4 lead. Boots had a double-double for HLV, finishing with 16 kills and 15 digs.
Trailing 18-9, C-M senior Colbee Cunningham had back-to-back kills and Shedenhelm served up an ace to get the Tigerhawks within 19-12.
A kill by sophomore Chelsey Temple kept the deficit at seven, but HLV closed out the sweep by scoring three straight points.
“We improve every day,” Grant said. “We are so young that we’ll improve in one area one day and then we make mistakes somewhere else the next day. They are working hard in practice. They probably don’t feel like we are moving forward, but we are.”
Cunningham led the Tigerhawks with six kills and 12 digs. Temple had two kills, Lester finished with six assists, four digs and five aces and Shedenhelm added nine digs and two aces.
Senior Braedynn Rawlins finished with five digs, Russell had four and Warrick chipped in three.
The Tigerhawks were 48-of-52 in serves, led by freshman Morgan Van Dyke’s 10-for-10 and Lester’s 12-of-13. Russell was 7-for-7 and had two assists.
HLV junior Amber Cooling had a second double-double for the Warriors, finishing with 10 kills and 16 digs.
Colfax-Mingo hosted 1A No. 8 Montezuma on Sept. 10. The Tigerhawks play BGM at 7 p.m. on Sept. 13 in Brooklyn.