After competing in the Region IX South Tournament on November 4-6 in Sterling, the volleyball season has come to an end for the Lady Lopes.
The Runnin' Lopes went into the Region tournament on a good note, after having beaten Trinidad State Junior College in three sets to end the regular season. With LCC going in as the #4 seed and TSJC as the #5 seed, it was looking to be a good matchup.
The Lopes started the match on their heels, resulting in a first-set loss to Trinidad with a final score of 14-25. The team responded by coming out swinging in the second set, which they took with a score of 25-20.
"It was a completely different team in set two than set one," said Head Coach Brandon Stephenson.
With a tied match, the third set looked like a boxing match between two heavy weights; both teams came out aggressive and played strong. However, mental errors got the best of LCC and they lost the set, 19-25.
"I saw a different team in the huddle between set three and four," remarked Coach Stephenson. "So I marked my lineup for set five before the fourth set. It threw off the ref at first, but I told her that we were going five tonight."
The fourth set saw a LCC team that wouldn't quit. They took the set 25-14, a win largely credited to their aggressive net play. The Lopes hit .345 for the set: the best attacking percentage that the team has put up all year.
Going into the fifth set, the team knew that they had to get up on the Lady Trojans early, but it was a slow back and forth start. The team looked to take the lead at the break and they did, pushing the lead to four at 13-9. The Lady Lopes looked to take the set and match, but a couple untimely errors on serve receive and attacking tied up the set at 14-14.
Both teams pushed each other to the limit, but TSJC came out on top winning 18-16.
"It was a good hard-fought match. Trinidad State is a good team that just made a few fewer errors than us," added Coach Stephenson.
After losing in the opening round against TSJC, the Lady Lopes faced long-time rival Otero Junior College in the loser bracket.
"We had a good idea who we were going to face in the next match and knew that it was going to happen at some point in this tournament," said Coach Stephenson.
Both teams came ready for the match. After trading the first two points of the set, OJC took a 5 point lead off of the Lopes' serving errors. The team fought hard the remaining time in the set but couldn't come back from that big of a hole. The set ended with a score of 16-25. Set two saw the same start with the same result; LCC lost the set, 19-25.
"You could tell that the team didn't want the season to end, especially to a rival," said Coach Stephenson.
The teams traded points early in the third set. This time the Lopes continued the fight up to point 20, where the set was tied. With a couple errors that hindered the Lopes on serve receive, OJC took the third and final set 22-25.
"It was not the way you wanted to the season to end," added Coach Stephenson. "These young ladies worked hard all season and you always want them to get to day three in this tournament."
Although the season didn't end as planned, the Lady Lopes had four players make the All-Region team: Karina Grajeda, TaNille Williams, Tanaia Hansen and Andreia Bomfim. The program has not had four players named to the region team in quite a while. TaNille Williams also received All-Tournament Team for the second year.