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New-look Panthers volleyball team writing new chapter

Carlie McClellan spikes the ball past Bloomfield defenders Tuesday night. (Sam Green/Special to The Journal)
M-CHS will lean on new group for leadership

With each new year, Panthers volleyball has evolved with a new leadership dynamic. Now, the class of 2023 steps up into the limelight.

After graduating over 75% of their team's kill production from a season ago, head coach Caroline Glover and her Montezuma-Cortez High School program will draw upon a new core to help the Panthers continue their recent success on the court.

Interest in the program continues to be high, according to Glover, with a wide range of players that can fill the positions vacated by graduation.

“Seniors Carlie McClellan and Madi Carver have really stepped up with their commitment and leadership,” said Glover, “and there’s a versatile group of players who have grown a lot over the last year.”

Montezuma-Cortez’s Madi Carver (5) attacks against Bayfield's Kenasea Byrd (11) during Intermountain League play last year. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

McClellan is the team’s leading returner in terms of kills from a season ago, while Carver paced the team in blocks in the middle of the front line.

Senior Ashlyn Hall provided strong defense for the Panthers last year, and could take on the libero role for the orange-and-black, while junior Delta Suckla is primed to take on setting responsibilities for the offense.

Senior Elise Galbraith and junior Isabella Tewell also appear to be primed to fill in attacking roles as middle and outside hitters.

“My hope is that this group increases their knowledge of the game and really develops strong teamwork,” added Glover, “and that we work toward accomplishing the goals that we develop as a team.”

M-CHS qualified for the regional round of the 3A tournament last year, capping off a 15-7 season and their fourth consecutive winning campaign as a program.

With a rigorous Intermountain League schedule facing them in the second half of the season, M-CHS looks to start on the right foot with their home opener against Ignacio on Tuesday, Aug. 23, followed by matches against New Mexico schools Kirtland Central and Bloomfield in early September.

League play gets underway on Sept. 23rd against Centauri and Alamosa, with mid-season tests against Monticello and Dove Creek providing the Panthers with opportunities to grow in preparation for the 3A postseason.