Cheney Free Press -


Cheney volleyball looks to solidify GNL 2 seed


October 19, 2017

Despite a pair of losses last week, the Cheney High School volleyball team still has its destiny in its own hands when it comes to positioning for the upcoming District 7 playoffs.

The Lady Blackhawks experienced a brief bump in the road with back-to-back home losses, Tuesday’s surprising 3-1 setback against East Valley and Thursday 3-0 to league-leader Pullman. Cheney rebounded, however, earning a 3-1 win on the road Saturday at Clarkston.

Cheney won the first set 25-19 against the visiting third-place Knights before dropping the final three, 25-21, 25-21 and 25-15. Head coach Heather Zorrozua attributed the outcome to being without starting libero Morgan Peace, who was out sick.

While the players who stepped in to fill the sophomore’s shoes played hard, the absence changed the dynamics of the team somewhat.

“Our team fought hard,” Zorrozua said. “I just think that element was just too much to overcome that day.”

Avery Stark led in kills with 10 and aces with two, with older sister Peyton Stark leading in assists with 22. Both Starks and Megahn Short each had 12 digs, with Allison Janes and Abby Witt adding a block each.

Zorrozua said the Lady Blackhawks played much better the second time around against Pullman than the first, looking more prepared and comfortable. Despite that, the senior-laden Greyhounds pulled a three-set win, 25-19, 25-14 and 25-19.

Peyton Stark had 15 assists and three aces, with Shelby Draper notching six kills and three blocks and Peace adding six digs.

Not only was Cheney without the services of Peace again at Clarkston Saturday, but they were also missing her back up at libero — Short — as well. Zorrozua said they pulled a couple players up from junior varsity to fill in, and it was likely the rearranging of chemistry that led to the Lady Blackhawks losing the third set, 25-20.

Other than that, Cheney was in control against the Bantams, winning the first and second sets 25-22 and 25-17 and the fourth set 25-17 to take the match. Peyton Stark had 16 kills and 16 assists, with Janes recording three aces, Avery Stark 16 digs and Draper five blocks.

Cheney remains in second place in the Great Northern League standings at 6-3, 8-3 overall. The Lady Blackhawks are ahead of East Valley (4-3, 5-4) and three matches behind Pullman (7-0, 8-1) with three matches remaining.

Cheney wrapped up its home regular-season schedule Tuesday, Oct. 17, by hosting fourth-place West Valley (2-7, 3-8), and then hits the road for the final two matches — Monday in a make-up contest with Pullman and Tuesday at East Valley.

Zorrozua hopes Thursday’s bye will help the Lady Blackhawks prepare for what will be two matches against opponents with good offenses. While the first-place Greyhounds may be out of reach, Cheney can wrap up the No. 2 seed to districts — and home court advantage with exception of a possible title game — with wins against both Spokane Valley schools.

John McCallum can be reached at


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