‘True to ourselves’: For 1st time, Soroco volleyball heads to state this weekend
The Soroco High School volleyball team has a hard task ahead at the 2021 Colorado High School Activities Association State Volleyball Championships in Colorado Springs. The team, which is mostly seniors, will be combating emotions knowing that they are experiencing everything together for the final time.
“A lot of us are trying to keep those emotions at bay until the season completely ends,” senior Sophia Benjamin said. “Sometimes, if you let those emotions in, they mess with your head.”
Meanwhile, they will be trying to embrace the fact that going to state is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them, all while trying to stay level-headed during gameplay in a high-pressure, hectic environment.
At any point in time, there will be up to five games being played. Soroco has encountered such craziness before at tournaments, but this will be an amplified version. Not only will there be five games and 10 teams playing at once, but there will be five whistles blowing, five balls bouncing and 10 groups of fans cheering on their teams.
That doesn’t even include actually playing volleyball.
This is the first time in program history that the Soroco team is heading to the state championship. The tournament at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs begins Thursday, and Soroco has a bye through the first round. Soroco is ranked No. 4 following regionals, and the top four teams don’t play in the first round. The Rams will play the winner of the No. 5 Holyoke versus No. 12 Akron match at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
“I expect us to play the same that we’ve been playing all season,” senior Irene Hoff said. “I feel like some girls get stressed out because it is a higher level of competition, but I think it’s important we stay true to ourselves and play the best that we can. If we get beat, then we know the other team was better, and it wasn’t us losing to ourselves.”
Holyoke will probably win over Akron, as it’s defeated Akron 3-0 twice this season. Holyoke and Soroco seem to be similar, dominant teams. It’s truly hard to say how that matchup will end.
If Soroco wins its first game, the Rams will play another second-round victor at 2 p.m. Friday. They could very well face No. 1 Sedgwick County in that game.
In order to do well, Soroco has to stick to what it’s been doing all year: strong serves, dynamic offenses and organized defense and ball control.
“Right now is not the time to change things,” head coach Jeannie Jo Logan said. “What they’ve done all year got them to where they’re at now.”
If the team loses Thursday’s game, it’ll play at 8 a.m. Friday. Another loss would send them home.
“We know we’re about to face the best teams in the state, so everyone needs to remember, they might score points on us, but we can’t lose our minds when that happens because we’re going to score points on them, too,” Benjamin said.
A win Friday afternoon means the Rams will play in the semifinals Saturday.
Soroco could get back to the semifinals from the elimination bracket but would have to win three loser-out games to get there. A loss in the semifinals also means Soroco is done, as there is no third-place game. The championship will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday.
“You get to this point, it’s a special feat in itself, but you also want to go for that title,” Logan said. “There’s no point in just getting to state and letting it go. When you get here, you go all the way.”
The girls are confident they can play more than the minimum two games and go far into the tournament. They have no intention of just letting it go.
“We’re really excited that we’ve made it this far, and we don’t want to be the team that makes it this far and gets super complacent with it,” Benjamin said. “We want to make it this far and keep going.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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