It might not be the biggest day of the season, but it’s the most critical one for the Laramie High School volleyball team. Their season comes down to one match.

At 4 p.m. on Thursday (today), top-ranked Laramie will play at home against Cheyenne Central for a spot at the 4A State Volleyball Tournament in Casper on Nov. 7.

Laramie (17-0) has defeated the Indians three times this season, twice in conference play, and the other was at a one-day invitational. LHS had yet to lose a set to Central in those three matches.

While head coach Jill Stucky is very proud of what her team has accomplished with an undefeated regular season, it won’t mean anything unless they continue to push forward.

“My message to my team this week is that we’ve got to do the work. Every single point is important. Point one is just as important as point 25, and there’s no way we can get from 1-to-25 without just working out butts off the whole entire set, and then getting into game two and doing the same thing.”

Stucky believes her squad will be prepared.

“After this week of practice, and how much time and effort and work we put into every drill we do, I think by Thursday the team’s going to be ready.”

Cheyenne Central is 2-11 on the season. At one point they had some matches canceled while dealing with a COVID situation.

The two just played each other at Laramie High School last Saturday in the regular-season finale. The Lady Plainsmen won in a three-set sweep by scores of 25-18, 25-12, and 25-18.

That still doesn’t help Coach Stucky rest easy.

“To me, any team in the whole state, it gives me a discomfort level because it’s such an important match. It’s like the match of the entire year. It’s the match that gets you to the state tournament. We’ll take our time and put in a good scouting report, and we’ll take a look at ways for us to score and ways for us to side-out well.”

She wanted to have her team compete in every drill during practice this week, still enjoy it and have fun, but get their ‘competitive juices’ flowing to be ready for this big match.

Stucky also feels her team is up to the task of an important match in a pressure-packed scenario.

“Absolutely,” said Stucky. “We have a nice group of kids that really like volleyball. They’re trying to focus on that part of their life, as we move into the week. I don’t have any kids that I worry about going out and being crazy at night and being socially in the wrong, incorrect ways. I just know that this group is super-focused and wants it so bad, and they’ve trained for a long time for this, so they’re not letting anything get in their way.”

After Laramie plays Cheyenne Central at 4 p.m., Cheyenne East and Cheyenne South will square off in another loser-out match at 5:30 p.m. The two winners will qualify for state, then play each other for the No. 1 or No. 2 seed from the Southeast Quadrant, and also advance to Saturday’s cross-quadrant tournament in Casper for state seeding purposes. Teams will play two matches on Saturday.

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