The Pueblo County Hornets women’ volleyball group is again within the State Finals event for the primary time in 4 years. That occurred to be the identical yr that Raquel Tapia joined the group as a freshman.
As a senior, Tapia is happy to be again within the state finals and hopes to go away every little thing on the court docket for herself and her fellow contenders in her closing try at a state title.
“I’ve been playing since about third grade,” Tapia stated. “The friends I’ve made are all my lifelong friends, and these are probably the most friends I’ve had in any season I’ve ever played.”
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Playing in your buddies typically brings out the very best in your personal sport. Tapia believes that she works so arduous as a result of her atmosphere pushed her ahead and made her higher.
“Jenna (Sharp) and I became very close,” Tapia stated. “We’ve been playing together since first year and this is our last year together. I want our final year to be just perfect. I pretty much play for her, my sister and everyone on the team. And we’re just so great together.”
Tapia is glad to be again on the state event. It’s one thing she had to expertise early in her volleyball profession, however the group struggled to return into the postseason till this yr.
“We haven’t done that since my freshman year,” Tapia stated. “It was just so great for me to have that feeling, and to have it back, my senior year is great.”
As a senior, Tapia recollects being a freshman and letting seniors information her by the method of making ready for playoff competitions – one thing she tries to replicate as a senior for youthful gamers.
On the pitch, Tapia and Sharp are a double whammy for the Hornets. When they’re on the pitch, they appear to be speaking on a regular basis.
Sometimes it is technique, typically it is simply jokes, however the connection the 2 have on the pitch is one thing that is been there since they first began enjoying collectively.
“We definitely talk strategy, but we also joke,” Tapia stated. “We love to have fun and when we’re having fun, we play well. So it helps all around.”
Now that the team is in the playoffs, Tapia is hoping she can play at a high level for her team and that the Hornets can make some noise at the state tournament.
“I am unable to look forward to the postseason,” Tapia said. “I imply, that is what all of it boils down to.”
The Hornets began the 2022 CHSAA Class 4A Volleyball State Finals in Denver with an 8 a.m. Thursday matchup against Cheyenne Mountain, losing 25-18, 26-24, 25-27, 27-25 and falling into Friday’s elimination round . They have a chance to return to Saturday’s championship game after an 11 a.m. match on Friday against an opponent who will be determined on Thursday night.
With a perfectly healthy roster going into the finals, the Hornets will be looking for a different result this time around.
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Christopher Abdelmalek is a sports reporter for the Pueblo Chieftain and can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @chowebacca