Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Morenci middle blocker Audrey Denzler went up for a block, but Bowie/San Simon hit the net to score a point for the Wildcats. The Cougars left Wildcat Memorial Gymnasium with a four-set win Sept. 15.
By Raymundo Frasquillo
MORENCI – Morenci’s volleyball team will be taking part in the 76-team Nike Invitational Tourney this week, departing Greenlee County on Thursday, Sept. 20, beginning pool play Friday, Sept. 21, and bracket play Saturday, Sept. 22.
The 31 Arizona participating teams will be joined by 17 from California, 10 from Florida, four from Utah, three each from Alaska and Georgia, two from both Nevada and Oregon, and one each from Colorado, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Washington.
Last year, the Wildcats went 1-3 in Pool “S” against 6A Mesa Skyline, 2A Thatcher, 4A Phoenix Thunderbird, and 2A Gilbert Leading Edge; and 2-2 in the Pearl Bracket to end eighth of 10 teams, five each in Pool “R” and Pool “S.” The Greenlee girls faced 5A Phoenix Goldwater, Nevada Las Vegas Rancho, Skyline, and Thunderbird.
Following a “stressful (home region) match” with Willcox, the Rhyanna Mennen-coached Wildcats faced the Roughriders on the road two days later and hosted the Cougars two days after that.
Morenci (7-10 overall, 2-5 seeding, 0-2 2A East Region) posted a 5-set (25-17, 25-22, 13-25, 14-25, 16-14) region win over Willcox Cowgirls (3-4, 1-1, 0-1) on Sept. 11 and two losses, 3-0 (15-25, 12-25, 9-25) to the Roughriders (6-6, 3-2, 3-0) in Pima on Sept. 13 and 3-1 (14-25, 25-19, 20-25, 23-25) to the visiting Bowie/San Simon Cougars on Sept. 15.
Having found the right rotation of personnel, the Wildcats were forced to use still another pattern against Pima and San Simon. Dominique Garcia and Hunter Lindsey, both recently honored through selection to the all-tourney team for the Morenci Invitational, were unavailable against the Cougars. Garcia left the Pima match with an ankle injury.
Duncan (3-11 overall, 3-3 seeding, 2-2 1A East Region) has a pair of region matches this week, hosting the Winkelman Hayden Lobos (1-7 overall, 1-7 seeding, 0-1 region) on Tuesday, Sept. 18, and is at the Saint David Tigers (14-1, 4-1, 1-0) on Friday, Sept. 21.
The Wildkats added a pair of region wins last week, in four sets over the Lobos in Hayden on Sept. 11 and in three sets over the visiting Cibecue Wildcats on Sept. 12.