Lady Blazers reach state for second consecutive season

Andrew Towne/Torrington Telegram Torrington sophomore Emily McGaugh celebrates a point in a 3-0 win over Newcastle Saturday afternoon at Willi Gym in the Class 3A East Regional Volleyball Tournament.

TORRINGTON – With home court advantage for the Class 3A East Regional Volleyball Tournament over the weekend, the Torrington Lady Blazers finished the two-day event with a 2-2 record, earning a No. 4 seed for this weekend’s state volleyball tournament.

In the opening round of play, No. 2-seeded Torrington made easy work of the No. 3-seeded Thermopolis Bobcats, 25-15, 25-19, 25-10.

In the opening set, the Bobcats scored the first two points of the match, but a block by sophomore Michaela Moorehouse tied the set at two, and a kill by sophomore Morgan Bates gave Torrington its first lead of the match.

It was a lead which Torrington never gave up the remainder of the match.

In the second set, the Lady Blazers jumped out to a 5-1 lead, and in the third set, Thermopolis kept things close early until an 8-2 spurt by Torrington.

The Lady Blazers ended the match on a 12-2 run.

The victory moved Torrington into the semifinal round later that afternoon with the top-seeded Douglas Lady Bearcats.

The Lady Blazers held a 2-1 lead in the first two sets courtesy a pair of Moorehouse kills, but Douglas controlled the rest of the match, handing Torrington a 25-8, 25-13, 25-11 defeat.

The loss dropped Torrington to a must-win situation Saturday afternoon if they wanted to reach state for the second straight season. Only the Newcastle Dogies stood in the way.

Torrington pulled off the sweep 25-15, 25-13, 25-9, but Newcastle made things interesting early in the first two sets.

The Dogies jumped out to a 4-1 lead in each of the first two sets, but senior Brielle Bivens served up aces in both sets to spark a rally.

However, in the third set, the Lady Blazers raced out to a 15-1 lead, forcing Newcastle to use both of its timeouts early in the set en route to the sweep.

The win secured Torrington’s trip to the state tournament, but the only thing left was to determine which seed they would hold.

Buffalo knocked off Wheatland in the other elimination game, setting up a rematch with the Lady Bison.

Buffalo went on to win 25-21, 25-17, 25-22.

Torrington fell behind early in the first set 4-0, but Bivens scored a kill to get the Lady Blazers on the scoreboard.

Later in the set, Torrington drew within one, courtesy of an attack error, but it proved to be as close as the hosts came to seeing the lead in the set.

In the second set, senior Nakayln Garner served up an ace to give the Lady Blazers an early 3-1 advantage. Later in the set, a 7-2 Lady Bison run allowed Buffalo to pull away for the win.

In the final set, the teams found themselves tied on six occasions, but Torrington was never able to get over the hump and take the lead.

A 7-2 spurt looked to nearly put away the Lady Blazers, but a Garner kill brought Torrington back within two late in the set.

However, the Lady Blazers came up short in forcing a fourth set.

As a result, Torrington (10-20) heads to the Class 3A State Tournament as a No. 4 seed and will square off against No. 1 Lyman (33-0) at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the Casper Events Center.

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