Cats lose to Eagles in tight match to start final two weeks

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Sophmore Hunter Lindsey goes up for a block attempt against Silver junior Laney McDonald during a 3-1 loss Oct. 11. Morenci lost to Thatcher in three straight sets Thursday, 25-6, 25-12, and 25-6.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

Morenci’s volleyball team will be concluding its final two weeks of competition, after losing a hard-fought battle with the No. 2 Thatcher Eagles (22-5 overall, 15-0 seeding, 10-0 East Region for No. 1 of 7) on Thursday, 25-23 in three straight sets. 

The Rhyanna Mennen-coached Wildcats (7-24, 2-12 seeding, 1-7 region for No. 6) are at the No. 47 Bisbee Pumas (2-21, 0-12, minus 16.0123, 0-12 region for No. 7) on Saturday, Oct. 20 and at the No. 22 Benson Bobcats (14-18, 7-7, 9.7002, 5-5 region for No. 4) on Tuesday, Oct. 21, before hosting the No. 16 Tombstone Yellow Jackets (18-9, 10-4, 6.4124, 5-4 region for No. 3) in the finale Oct. 23. The Bisbee match was originally scheduled for Morenci Oct. 6, rescheduled for Oct. 15, and made a double-header.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Junior Angel Ontiveros returns the ball over the net against Silver.

Morenci has fallen to both Thatcher and Tombstone in three sets, and was edged by Benson in five sets earlier in the season. During the previous five seasons (2013-17), the Wildcats are a combined 8-19 against the four upcoming opponents, 0-9 versus Thatcher, 4-0 vs. Bisbee, and 3-4 vs. Benson, and 1-6 vs. Tombstone.

The Wildcats are currently on a 17-match losing streak, succumbing in 10 seeding and seven tourney pairings, since posting a 5-set (25-17, 25-22, 13-25, 14-25, 16-14) region win over the No. 29 Willcox Cowgirls (6-10, minus 1.5499, 4-7, 2-7) on Sept. 11.

Having found the right rotation of personnel during the Willcox match, the Wildcats were forced to use still another pattern against Pima and San Simon, but have since been plagued by a lack of “focus,” Mennen said.

Morenci fell 3-0 (25-15, 25-12, 25-9) to the No. 11 Roughriders (20-13, 13-7, 8.3116, 10-3, 9-1 for No. 2) in Pima Sept. 13, 3-1 (25-14, 19-25, 25-20, 25-23) to the 1A No. 7 Bowie / San Simon Cougars (13-2, 4.9761, 8-1 South Region for No. 2 of ) in Morenci Sept. 15, 2-0 in five pool and two Pearl Bracket Nike Tournament of Champions pairings Sept. 21-22, 3-0(25-6, 25-13, 25-11) to the Eagles in Thatcher Sept. 25, 3-0 (27-25, 25-12, 25-16) to the Yellow Jackets in Tombstone Sept. 27, 3-2 (10-25, 25-10, 25-19, 10-25, 15-8 ) to Benson in Morenci Oct. 2, 3-0 (25-22, 25-16, 25-16) to the Cowgirls in Willcox Oct. 4, 3-0 (25-13, 25-19, 25-22), 3-0 (25-13, 25-25-19, 25-22) to the Roughriders in Morenci Oct. 9, and 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-19) to the New Mexico Silver High Fighting Colts in Morenci Oct. 11.

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