Wildkats head to Cibecue for second region match

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Duncan’s front line, senior Lynnie Neilson (6), junior Kinsley Rapier (7), and senior Kaitlyn Lunt await junior Melissa Claridge’s (4) serve during a home match with San Simon. In back are sophomore Kierra Lacey (14) and senior Kaktys Garcia (11). The Longhorns left Duncan with a five-set win Sept. 10.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

DUNCAN – The Sandi French-coached volleyball squad heads to Cibecue for a second 1A East Region match Sept. 12. Duncan is 3-8 overall, 1-2 seeding, and 0-1 in the region following the first full week of competition.

The Wildkats split a pair of matches with the Wildcats, winning the bracket match and losing the pool match, during the Morenci Invitational on Sept. 7.

San Simon – 3, Duncan – 2

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Duncan sophomore Kiley McGrath (3) drops in a hit over the outstretched hands of a San Simon defender.

Duncan succumbed during the deciding set a second time in as many home matches, falling 8-15 to San Simon on Sept. 10. It was a set the Wildkats never led, trailing by as many as six points (5-11, 6-12) twice before a San Simon net serve and an errant pass pared the deficit to four, 8-12. The visitors reeled off three unanswered points, two on Duncan miscues and the third on a San Simon kill tip, for the set and match win.

The Wildkats made several good choices along with some poor ones. It is early in the season and all are correctable.

“They don’t listen in practice,” French said.

They may be paying more attention than before as teary-eyed Wildkats headed to the locker room following the loss.

San Simon tied the match with a 25-22 set four win. The Longhorns trailed by seven, 3-10, before eating away at the deficit to tie at 16-16. Five consecutive Duncan miscues gave the Longhorns a 5-point advantage, 16-21, before a San Simon passing error put the score at 17-21. A Duncan hitting error and passing error gave San Simon points 22 and 23. A Longhorn net serve gave Duncan a 24-22 deficit, but on the ensuing exchange, an errant pass gave the visitors the set win.

The Wildkats led in the match after the first three sets, losing the first 23-25, and winning the next two 25-20 and 25-11.

San Simon unofficially served at 67 (85-97) percent. Official team percentages for Duncan had serves at 86 (67-78), attacks at 81 (54-67 with 19 kills), blocks at 80 (4-5), digs at 40 (3-10).

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Duncan head coach Sandi French, left, shakes hands with San Simon head coach Kari Wade following the match.

An 11-member Duncan squad includes three seniors, five juniors, two sophomores, and a freshman. The roster has seniors Kaktys Garcia, Kaitlyn Lunt, and Lynnie Neilson; juniors Lauren Basteen, Melissa Claridge, Janaye Eddy, Mia Hoglan, and Kinsley Rapier; sophomores Kierra Lacey and Kiley McGrath; and freshman Kaylee Kempton.

San Simon (3-5, 2-0, 1-0 1A South Region) hosts Fort Thomas on Sept. 11 and Morenci on Saturday, Sept. 14.

Morenci Tourney results

Ninth-seed Duncan was eliminated in two sets (25-10, 25-14) by top-seed Saint David during the quarterfinals. The Wildkats recorded a 2-set win (25-22, 25-18) over eighth seed Cibecue during the play-in round.

Duncan won a cross-pairing match, Black No. 5 Duncan downed Red No. 5 San Simon 30-22 and posted a 0-4 mark during pool play, twice falling by two points (28-30) to both San Carlos and Cibecue. The Wildkats also fell 11-30 to Benson and 13-30 to Miami in Black Pool pairings.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Lead-off server Kierra Lacey looks over the defense before delivering the ball. The Duncan junior earned all-tourney honors in the Morenci Invitational on Sept. 7.

The Black Pool had San Carlos and Benson both with 3-1 records, Miami and Cibecue both 2-2, and Duncan 0-4. San Carlos (total points scored 117-97) topped Duncan (80-120), Benson (91-70) 30-17, and Miami (102-82) 30-22; Benson bested Miami 24-20, Duncan, and Cibecue (84-115) 30-9; Miami downed Cibecue 30-15 and Duncan, and Cibecue defeated Duncan and San Carlos 30-27.

Red Pool standings were Saint David 4-0, Morenci 3-1, and Globe, Cobre, and San Simon 1-3 apiece. Saint David (120-60) triumphed 30-9 over San Simon (83-119), 30-15 over Morenci (105-80), 30-22 over Globe (97-118), and 30-14 over Cobre (89-117); Morenci prevailed 30-16 over San Simon, 30-18 over Globe, and 30-16 over Cobre; Globe edged San Simon 30-28; Cobre defeated Globe 30-27; and San Simon slipped past Cobre 30-29.

In other cross pairings, Red No. 1 Saint David topped Black No. 1 San Carlos 30-8, Red No. 2 Morenci bested Black No. 2 Benson 30-18, Black No. 3 Miami defeated Red No. 3 Globe 30-26, and Red No. 4 Cobre defeated Black No. 4 Cibecue 30-23.

In the previous 17 meets, Duncan finished first four times (2004-06, 2012) and was runner-up (2003) once. The Wildkats prevailed 2-1 (25-22, 23-25, 17-15) over Pima in 2012, 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) over Morenci in 2006, 2-1 over Animas in 2005 and 2-1 (10-25, 25-21, 15-4) over Willcox in 2004. Willcox topped Duncan 2-0 (25-23, 25-16) in 2003.

The Wildkats opened the season with a five-set region loss (19-25, 9-25, 25-21, 25-22, 14-16) to the visiting Gilbert Arete Prep Chargers on Sept. 3. Duncan posted a 3-1 (25-23, 25-20, 24-26, 25-22) road win over the Superior Panthers on Sept. 5.

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