Hayden honors late coach at home opener before falling to Meeker (with video) | SteamboatToday.com
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Hayden honors late coach at home opener before falling to Meeker (with video)

HAYDEN — Before announcing the starting lineups of the Meeker vs. Hayden High School volleyball game, the Tigers team, student section and coaching staff gathered on the floor to do the Tiger Pound Out. Joined by the Meeker squad, they gathered in a circle on their bellies and pounded the floor with their hands. 

“We are the Tigers,” they yelled in unison.

The display was in honor of former Hayden wrestling coach Chad Jones, who died on Sept. 17, 2018. After the fans cleared, the Cowboys and Tigers players circled together, holding hands and speaking for a few moments before dispersing to their separate sides of the floor.

“He impacted a lot of people around here as a wrestling coach and was a big figure,” Hayden junior Leah Carrouth said. “His passing away had such a big impact in our community. It’s really important we honor him. Tonight was a really good night for that.”

The emotions carried Hayden to a strong first set, but Meeker mounted an incredible comeback to sweep the Tigers 3-0 on Thursday, Sept. 19, at Hayden High School, with set wins of 25-22, 25-17, 25-15.

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The visitors earned the first two points of the night, but thanks to some big blocks from Carrouth and freshman Emma Seagraves, Hayden tied the set at six before scoring five straight to take an 11-6 lead. 

“I think that the girls were doing a really great job closing the block,” Hayden head coach Lexi Cyphers said. “We’ve worked a lot on that in practice, and they did not disappoint tonight.”

From left, Hayden freshman Emma Seagraves and junior Leah Carrouth put up a block in a game against Meeker on Thursday, Sept. 19, at Hayden High School.
Shelby Reardon

Seagraves and Carrouth worked in tandem, proving they already have chemistry this early in the season. 

“(Seagraves) is a freshman, and she is not disappointing. She’s working real hard and it shows,” Cyphers said. “I’m excited to see what the season holds with her and her growing. (Carrouth) is going to be a senior next year, and she just keeps showing more and more leadership on the court.”

Using an aggressive front line, the Tigers pushed the lead to 21-15, prompting a Meeker timeout. 

When the teams took the floor again, something was very different. The Cowboys scored 10 straight points for the win thanks to ace after ace from senior Caleigh Morgan. 

“I’m not sure it was me at all,” Meeker head coach Greg Cravens said. “Caleigh went back to serve. She’s a senior, and she’s just strong. She just knows what to do and how to handle those situations. She’s started three years for me, and she stepped back there and got it done.”

Hayden volleyball

  • Aug. 27: at Moffat County, W 17-25, 25-14, 26-24, 25-23
  • Sept. 6-7: Rangely Tournament
  • Sept. 14: at Hotchkiss, L 3-1
  • Sept. 19: vs. Meeker, L 3-0.
  • Sept. 20: at Vail Mountain, 5:30 p.m.
  • Sept. 21: vs. North Park, 2 p.m.
  • Sept. 27: at Vail Christian, 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 28: vs. Plateau Valley, 2 p.m.
  • Oct. 3: vs. Soroco, 6:30 p.m
  • Oct. 4: at DeBeque, 5:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 11: at Rangely, 5 p.m.
  • Oct. 18: vs. West Grand, 6 p.m.
  • Oct. 19: vs. Baggs, 2 p.m.
  • Oct. 25: at Paonia, 5 p.m.
  • Oct. 26: at Caprock, 2 p.m.

Lacking communication seemed to be the culprit in Hayden’s struggle. Still, Hayden stayed in it. A kill and a block from Hayden senior Joey Deckler trimmed a five-point deficit to a 16-13 Meeker lead. Additionally, her serve returns and digs from the back row were pivotal in ensuring the visitors in gold didn’t run away with it early on. 

After a wild volley from both sides, Deckler made the call of “out,” watching the ball go by her. It was close, but the line judge called it in, giving the Cowboys a 20-13 lead, their largest of the evening. They went on to take the set 25-17.

The final frame featured the greatest margin of victory. The Tigers hinted at a possible fourth set as they kept it close until the teams were tied at 11. Meeker made sure there was no doubt though, pulling away for a 25-15 set win. 

“We had a couple errors, but especially in the first game, we worked well as a team and we were talking,” Carrouth said. “Communication was really good, but towards the end it stopped a little bit. “

Meeker 3, Hayden 0
M 25 25 25 — 3
H 22 17 15 — 0

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


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