Wildcats debut at No. 13, drop to No. 14 following five-set loss to Bobcats

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Morenci senior libero Jadyn Aguilera receives a serve during a region match with Benson. The Bobcats left Wildcat Memorial Gymnasium with a five-set win Oct. 8. Morenci debuted at No. 13 and Benson at No. 26 prior to the pairing. Benson moved up to No. 17 and Morenci dropped to No. 14 following the match. The teams both had identical 3-3 overall and 2-2 region records.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

MORENCI – The Wildcats debuted at No. 13 in the initial 2A rankings Oct. 8. A five-set loss to Benson in Wildcat Memorial Gymnasium later in the evening dropped Morenci to No. 14.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Devanie Medina checks Benson’s alignment before a fifth-set serve. The Morenci junior tied the score at 1-1 with a tip. The set would be knotted five more times (2-2, 5-5, 5-5, 7-7, 8-8) before a Morenci serve receive error gave Benson the lead for good. The visitors used an ace (10), tip (11), kill (13) along with three additional Morenci errors (12, 14, 15) to win the set 15-10 and match 3-2. Morenci added its final two points on a pair of Benson errors.

Deadlocked at two wins apiece, a 15-10 set five win by the visiting Bobcats decided the region pairing. The score was tied six times (1-1, 2-2, 4-4, 5-5, 7-7, 8-8) before a Morenci serve receive error gave Benson the lead for good.

The Bobcats added their next six points on an ace serve (10), a tip (11), a kill (13), along with three Morenci errors, net hit (12), carry (14), and wide pass (15). Morenci’s final two points were scored on Benson errors, a net hit (9) and net pass (10).

Benson won the first two sets, 25-21 and 25-19 while Morenci prevailed in sets three (25-11) and four (25-20). The Bobcats have won 10 of 23 sets overall while Morenci prevailed in 12 of 24 sets.

“How can you beat somebody 25-11 and lose 15-10?” asked fifth-year Morenci head coach Rhyanna Mennen.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Morenci senior Lanae Leonard (5) and freshman Alizabeth Aguilar (12) go up for a block attempt against the Bobcats. They did not touch the ball but it went beyond the line.

Perhaps the lack of court time together effected the outcome as the Wildcats continue the global health crisis altered season.

Region standings as of Oct. 12 are No. 8 Pima (5-1 overall) first (3-0), No. 17 Benson (3-3) second (2-2), No. 14 Morenci (3-3) third (2-2), No. 19 Bisbee (3-2) fourth (2-2), No. 23 Tombstone (2-3) fifth (1-2), and No. 30 Willcox (2-6) sixth (1-3).

This week, Pima was at Bisbee, Morenci at Willcox, and Tombstone at Benson on Tuesday, Oct. 13. Pima hosts Morenci, Tombstone welcomes Bisbee, and Benson entertains Willcox on Thursday, Oct. 15.

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