Cheri Azevedo and Jennifer Blue | email@example.com
After sweeping East Nicolaus last Tuesday in thrilling 3-0 set win, the LadyHawks secured their ride to the Northern Sectional Championship game in Red Bluff against the Etna Lions last Saturday.
Colusa’s standing tradition of athletic excellence with championship wins can now add varsity volleyball to those traditions, as the Lady Hawks shut Etna out in a 3-0 set win to claim the Section Championship title.
“It doesn’t seem real,” said Head Coach Tina Lyons. “So proud of these girls! Someone pinch me.”
Nerves were not an issue for Colusa as they opened up in their first set of game play with an astounding 15-3 lead over the Lions.
Carly Lay and Hannah Taylor were virtually unstoppable at the net with kills and blocks. Annie Lay also displayed tasteful techniques on the court assisting her offense to a commanding first set win, 25-6.
One set down and enroute to the title, Colusa surged ahead on a six point run over Etna before the Lions’ Sadie Hogun sent an unreturnable backrow kill to Colusa for a side-out.
Halliday Hubbard’s ace and then a kill put the Lions within four, 7-3, but by mid-match, Colusa had doubled the lead and Etna fell short with a 25-16 final score.
LadyHawks signs, banners and faceplates stood tall at the start of the third match as Colusa prepared for what could be the title set.
Etna, now on the ropes, watched as the LadyHawks seized the momentum from the previous wins to take a nine point lead. Again Carly Lay and Taylor were a driving force at the net, helping propel Colusa to a substantial lead. But the hands of Reese Roper would seal the fate for the Lions with a strong outside hit to push Colusa to their first Section Championship title in history, and with a 25-14 final score.
“I feel ecstatic and proud,” said senior Hannah Taylor. “To be a part of a great team that brought home Colusa’s first section championship is exciting.”
Parents, former players, and RedHawk fans provided an electric atmosphere for the Lady Hawks, making the 85 mile trip seem just like their home court.
“The community has always been amazing,” said Lyons. “We couldn’t ask for a better support system.”
A true team effort was displayed on Saturday and the stats show just that. Taylor led the team in kills with 15 while Carly Lay had 14 of her own with six blocks. Annie Lay led the offense with 27 assists and also contributed three blocks, five kills and nine digs. Roper led Colusa from the service line with 15 points and Abby Meyers had five aces.
And almost exciting at the section championship game was the final playoff game on Nov. 5 against East Nicolaus Lady Spartans, which propelled them to the championship playoff.
“East Nicolaus put up a fight which was nice,” Lyons said.
However, the LadyHawks had the team cohesiveness that made the difference in the end, in this game and in Saturday’s.
“They have been focused,” she said. “They know what they want to do. They’ve been really great teammates.”
The Nov. 5 game started off with the scoreboard volleying back and forth, and each point made by the RedHawks was met with a point for the Spartans. After a tense beginning, the RedHawks started to gain the upper hand and slowly the rift between the scores widened, with the team ending the first set 25-12.
Although the RedHawks took a strong start, the Spartans had a good run to catch up. As the game started to get close, the RedHawks would come together and, according to senior Carly Lay, that is when the team cheers one another along to bring up the spirits and the score to 25-19.
Colusa sophomore Reese Roper said that the energy from the stands is an important part of each game.
“I think when people come to watch and people cheer, it helps keep us more energetic,” said Roper. “It helps boost our confidence when we do something good and they’re excited.”
Colusa played their first round in state competition on Tuesday, Nov. 12. ■