The story of how the Pueblo West volleyball team won the Region 10 tournament is almost too crazy to believe.
After cruising to a 3-0 win over Berthoud in the first round of the regional tournament, the Cyclones squared off with the host team, the Niwot Cougars.
The Cyclones continued to roll in the first two games of the set, winning 25-19 and 25-22.
But Niwot was not about to go down quietly, and the third set was even tighter.
The Cyclones had fought to gain match point at 25-24 when things got really interesting.
Just seconds after West served for match point, loud music began blaring over the P.A. system.
The teams kept playing the critical match point, but the head referee called the point dead, and ordered that the music be shut off.
Needless to say, the Pueblo West players, coaches and fans were not amused by this crazy turn of events.
The distraction proved to be very costly as Niwot won the next three points and won the game to stay alive.
The Cyclones were still upset and flustered in the fourth set, and the Cougars took full advantage of it.
Niwot drew even by taking the fourth set, 25-23.
West managed to regain their composure and jumped out to a commanding 9-4 lead in the fifth and final set.
But Niwot ran off six straight points to take a 10-9 lead. The pressure was almost unbearable as the teams traded points.
With a 15-14 advantage, Niwot had come all the way back from the brink of elimination, to serve match point.
The point finally ended with a blistering cross-court spike to the Cyclones back line.
The Cougars and their fans assumed that it was the game and match winner.
But as the fans rushed the court, the linesman signaled that the ball had landed long.
The court was cleared, and the Cyclones hopes of a trip to the state tournament were still alive.
Appropriately enough, the final game was tied at 15.
The young and tenacious West team was not to be denied. Two consecutive kill shots finally put an end to the nonsense.
Game, set, and match Cyclones: 25-19, 25-22, 25-27, 23-25, 17-15.
Even though he was away from the high school game for the past five years, Pueblo West’s veteran head coach Casey King thought he had seen it all. But this one took the cake.
After the shock and awe had subsided, Coach King took a minute to reflect on his team’s accomplishment.
“I am really proud of our team,” King said.
“We had to overcome some very interesting situations to win.
“This team dug deep to make it to state,” King added. “I could not have asked for a better welcome back gift.”
While the Cyclones know that the competition only gets tougher in the state pool play, they are at least hoping to return to their more conventional ways of winning.
With the sweep in region play, the Cyclones have won 18 of their last 19 matches.
The confident and battle-tested West netters will enter the 12-team state tournament in Pool II with Longmont and Ponderosa.
The Cyclones will play both of their pool matches Friday at the Denver Coliseum.
The pool matches will begin at 8 a.m., and continue all day, with only an eight-minute break between each match.
The Cyclones will play Longmont in the fifth match, and Ponderosa in the seventh match of the day.
The winners of the four pools will meet in the state semi-finals.
State volleyball schedules and details can be found at www.chsaanow.com.
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