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By Jocelyn Rowley
Sports@lhvc.com 

Volleyball: Niwot cruises to Regional title and clinches State berth

 

November 9, 2017

Ed Navarro

Cougars and their fans celebrate a regional title.

The Cougars cleared one more hurdle in their quest for the 2017 state volleyball title last Friday night, sweeping No. 33 Cañon City and No. 21 Eagle Valley to win the Class 4A Region 4 tournament and earn the No. 4 seed in next weekend’s state tournament at the Denver Coliseum.

“So far this season, our goals have been accomplished. League champion was number one. Regional champ was number two, and now we move on to number three,” said Cougar Head Coach Daisha Agho after the Cougars clinched their second straight state tournament berth. “There are still a couple of things we need to work on. These guys were able to execute the game plan a little bit better this time around. The back was closed a lot more, the defense was a little bit more disciplined - still some unforced errors that we can take care of, but overall I’m very happy and very excited.”

The Cougars were led on the night by captain Mackenzie Fidelak, in her final matches on the Niwot court. The Stanford-bound senior had 23 kills on the night, as well as four aces and 16 digs. After the matches, the outside hitter was happy with her team’s mentality on the night and optimistic about their chances next weekend.

“Something we’ve been struggling with recently is going into matches with intensity,” she said. “Today, I think we came out a little slower in the first match, especially in the first and second sets. But we did a good job coming out with fire in the second match. I think that having that going into State is really good for us.”

Notably, Fidelak had just two assists on the night, the result, she said, of a new offensive scheme made possible by the return of junior setter Madison Schoeder to the lineup. “We just switched to a 5-1, which I really like, and I think is really working. There are still some kinks, but everyone’s been adjusting to it really well.”

Agho agreed that Schoeder’s return added an extra dimension to the Cougars’ game plan. “We got Madison back, and it was the first time we got to see her in action without being skeptical and nervous about her ankle. It was fun to see the girls’ reaction to her. The timing is still a bit off, with the big hitters and her, but we’ve got a week to refine it and hopefully we can.”

Elsewhere on the night, junior Emma Falk had 10 blocks and 12 kills while Zoe Gonzales had nine kills and three blocks. Senior Katie Pearson led the team in aces, with seven, and digs, with 23. Sophomore Emma Shiers and junior Audrey Richard combined for 28 kills and 24 digs, while Schoeder had 67 assists on the night, including a team-leading 36 in the Cañon City match.

Niwot enters next weekend’s State tournament as the fourth seed and the Northern League’s only representative. Both Longmont and Thompson Valley failed to advance out of their Regions. The Cougars will face No. 5 Palmer Ridge and No. 9 Discovery Canyon in opening round pool play, so a rematch against Holy Family would have to wait for the Championship bracket.

“I just want everyone to be healthy and have a really good attitude going into it,” Fidelak said of her team’s playoff approach. “We’ve got pieces, so as long as everyone has a good attitude, it means we’re ready to play and we’ll be okay.”

Agho said she hopes her team remembers to enjoy themselves no matter what the outcome next weekend.

“This is the kind of stuff that you’ll remember for a long time—the team together, the girls together. You only get one more chance to play with this team, and it’s at the big dance. They should be proud of that and be able to enjoy each other.”

The Class 4A state tournament will be held at the Denver Coliseum on Nov. 10-11.

(11/03) — Niwot 3, Cañon City 0

Tigers (13-11, 6-2) 08 19 18

Cougars (19-5, 13-1) 25 25 25

Kills — Mackenzie Fidelak 14, Audrey Richard 10, Emma Shiers 7, Emma Falk 6, Zoe Gonzales 2, Madison Schoeder 1

Blocks — Emma Falk 5, Mackenzie Fidelak 2, Zoe Gonzales 1, Audrey Richard 1, Madison Schoeder 1, Emma Shiers 1

Digs — Katie Pearson 11, Madison Schoeder 10, Mackenzie Fidelak 7, Emma Shiers 5, Emma Falk 3, Audrey Richard 3, Rachel Priola 1

Aces — Emma Falk 3, Mackenzie Fidelak 3, Katie Pearson 3, Madison Schoeder 3, Emma Shiers 1

(11/03) — Niwot 3, Eagle Valley 0

Devils (16-8, 10-2) 16 15 22

Ed Navarro

Mackenzie Fidelak serves.

Cougars (19-5, 13-1) 25 25 25

Kills — Mackenzie Fidelak 9, Zoe Gonzales 7, Emma Shiers 7, Emma Falk 6, Audrey Richard 4, Madison Schoeder 2

Blocks — Emma Falk 5, Zoe Gonzales 2, Emma Shiers 2, Madison Schoeder 2, Mackenzie Fidelak 1, Audrey Richard 1

Digs — Katie Pearson 12, Mackenzie Fidelak 9, Audrey Richard 8, Emma Shiers 8, Madison Schoeder 4, Emma Falk 2, Zoe Gonzales 1

Aces — Katie Pearson 4, Mackenzie Fidelak 1, Audrey Richard 1, Emma Shiers 1

 

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