Maddison Wright, left, and Brooke Palmer attempt a block on an attack from the Wheatland Bulldogs on Saturday in Rawlins.

RAWLINS – The Rawlins Outlaws volleyball team (31-5, 6-0) beat the Wheatland Bulldogs (4-24, 1-5) in three sets on Saturday at Rawlins High School. The Outlaws were coming off a three-set victory on Friday night against Torrington, 25-11, 25-16, 25-23.

Set one started with close, back-and-forth action with each team trading off the lead until about the midpoint of the set. In hopes of keeping the set within reach, Wheatland head coach Lindsay Schaffner called a timeout as Rawlins took the lead 13-8. After the timeout, the Outlaws would widen the gap with a block by senior Jordan Jerome followed by kills from juniors McKenzie Earl and Brooke Palmer. Rawlins kept rolling from there and a bad pass by Wheatland ended the set with the Outlaws winning 25-13.

In set two, Rawlins jumped out to a 7-1 lead with the help of a big kill and two aces from Palmer. Junior Ali Edwards assisted in building the lead with a kill of her own. Set two was never that close as the Outlaws kept command of the lead. After another big kill by Edwards put Rawlins in set-point position, a bad pass by Wheatland ended it 25-17 in favor of the Outlaws.

The Bulldogs snapped back in set three, jumping out to a 5-3 lead. As in set one, each team would take the lead several times. Despite Wheatland’s efforts, Rawlins took control after a successful kill from Jerome tied the score 16-16. Junior Maddison Wright took position behind the service line and delivered a couple of aces which put the Outlaws up 19-16. Earl smashed a kill to put the score at 24-18. The Bulldogs held on for a couple more points but were thwarted by an attack from Jerome that ended the set 25-20.

Head coach Aubrey Griffiths felt like her team looked a little flat, likely due to traveling for the matchup against Torrington on Friday night.

“I really feel like we’ve been missing playing in tournaments,” said Griffiths. “Those tournaments allow us to play against 4A schools and some tougher competition. It can be hard to get up for these games that aren’t as competitive, especially after a long road trip and back to back matches.”

The flatness is understandable, given the circumstances. That said, you can be certain Griffiths will have her top ranked team ready for postseason action. The match against Wheatland marked the end of regular season play. Rawlins will travel to Buffalo for regionals on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2. The team will be vying for a first place finish to secure the most favorable position at the state tournament. Rawlins closed out the regular season with the best record in the 3A East Region, followed by Douglas.

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