Four seniors lead Tigers volleyball into 2019 |

Four seniors lead Tigers volleyball into 2019

Hayden High School middle blocker Joey Deckler, then a junior, sneaks a ball in between the block against Soroco last year. This year, the team hopes to improve on their performance against their county rivals.
Leah Vann

HAYDEN — When the Hayden High School volleyball team takes to the court, four seniors will hit the floor first. 

Outside hitters Alex Camilletti and Hailee Smith, setter Morgan Bennett and 2018 all-conference middle blocker Joey Deckler will lead a team that is looking to build off a solid foundation set the year before.

The 2018 season, in which the Tigers went 12-11 overall, was a roller coaster plagued by inconsistency. 

After going 6-2 to start the year, the girls in orange dropped seven straight games before pulling together another 6-2 stretch to cap the season. While the team ended up with a winning record, their conference record of 4-8 didn’t meet the same standard.

“(We have to) stay strong and positive through the whole season and finish strong,” Smith said. 

This year, the Tigers hope to do better against conference opponents, especially rival Soroco, who won both matches 3-2 and 3-0 last fall.

“To succeed in our conference, we have to train really hard on the basics and really get some of those offensive and defensive moves really fine tuned,” said third-year head coach Lexi Cyphers. “And making sure that the girls are used to playing with each other and next to each other, especially the blockers.”

Hayden volleyball

  • Aug. 27: at Moffat County, 6 p.m.
  • Sept. 6-7: Rangely Tournament
  • Sept. 14: at Hotchkiss, 1 p.m.
  • Sept. 19: vs. Meeker, 6 p.m.
  • Sept. 20: at Vail Mountain, 6 p.m.
  • Sept. 21: vs. North Park, 1 p.m.
  • Sept. 27: at Vail Christian, 6 p.m.
  • Sept. 28: vs. Plateau Valley, 3 p.m.
  • Oct. 4: at DeBeque, 5:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 5: vs. Soroco, 3 p.m.
  • Oct. 11: at Rangely, 4 p.m.
  • Oct. 18: vs. West Grand, 6 p.m.
  • Oct. 19: vs. Baggs, 1 p.m.
  • Oct. 25: at Paonia, 6 p.m.
  • Oct. 26: at Caprock, 3 p.m.

When it comes to blocking, Hayden boasts some height at the net in Deckler and outside hitter Alex Camilletti. The team lost a right side last year, and while Cyphers doesn’t want to reveal her starting roster yet, she’s confident in her new right side player after the Tigers graduated Thalia Carbajal.

Cyphers has been working with her team on chemistry, having front pairs block together repeatedly to ensure they can do their job successfully in a game.

“I think focusing on things like that and really fine tuning that and making sure that they feel more comfortable will allow them to show that confidence on the court,” Cyphers said.

The team also graduated libero Cassidy Crawford, but a few days before the season was set to start, Cyphers had yet to settle on who would take over that spot in the lineup. However, she said she had a few promising options. 

With a few new players in the mix and a clear potential to do well, the Tigers are really focusing on becoming a cohesive group.

“Teamwork-wise, we’re still working on uniting all together,” Deckler said. “Especially with young freshman coming, we need to work on playing with each other and being a whole.”

Cypher thinks the fact the girls have known each other their whole lives is a huge asset. It’s just a matter of learning to use that familiarity on the court. 

“They know each other better than anybody else. Taking that and transferring that onto the court is going to be our focus and making sure the culture for our program, as well as each individual, is consistently being implemented,” Cyphers said. “Because they have such an awesome connection with each other, that is their biggest strength. We just have to play to it the best we can.”

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.

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