Win two and you advance to the state tournament. Lose two, and the season comes to an end.

That’s the scenario for the defending champion Laramie Lady Plainsmen volleyball team. They head to the 4A East Regional Volleyball Championships in Gillette on Friday and Saturday.

LHS won their last three regular-season matches in three-set sweeps over Sheridan, Cheyenne Central, and No. 3 Cheyenne East. They enter the postseason with a 26-2 overall record.

The Lady Plainsmen are the No. 2 seed at the regional tournament thanks to their loss two weeks ago to Kelly Walsh.

Laramie head coach Jill Stucky called that a really, really good loss for her team.

“It came at just the right time to make our team realize, hey, we gotta work hard. We’ve got to work harder in practice. We’ve got to put more things together in practice, and we’ve got to be more strategic in everything we do in drills. We’ve been working really hard just to get that last little bit of improvement as we head into the postseason.”

As the second seed, Laramie will play Cheyenne Central in the first round at 2:30 p.m. Class 4A conferences changed their bylaws to seed 1-8 at regionals based on two matches versus opponents in your quadrant and one match versus opponents in cross-quadrant matches. LHS finished 9-1 in that aspect. Instead of playing the fourth seed from the northeast, as the No. 2 seed, you play No. 7 in the first round. This was supposed to be implemented in 2020, but COVID changed the postseason format last fall. That’s why it is new in 2021.

Stucky said the seeding, whatever. “I could care less, to be honest with you. We’re just ready to play. We’re going to go in, we’re going to play hard, and whoever is in front of us, we’re going to figure out a way to win.”

The Lady Plainsmen went 2-0 in the regular season versus Cheyenne Central. Both matches were three-set sweeps. Stucky believes they have to focus on themselves and how they are playing, not their opponent.

“We’ve gotta work on some things to beat them. We gotta figure out a way to stop some of their hitters, and we’ve got to keep them out of system so that they can’t run the offense they want to run. We just have to play a really steady, good ball control game, with aggressive serving, and us putting the block up.”

Stucky also mentioned how different this season has been depending on their lineup. She said it’s been dependent on whether Alexis Stucky was here or not, whether she’s just hitting or setting and hitting, whether Maddy Stucky is hitting or setting, and whether Halley Feezer’s been hitting or in a libero role, at times. Stucky feels they’ve found one, and that’s what they’re sticking with.

If Laramie wins their first match on Friday at the regional tournament in Gillette, they will play again at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. They will also be playing on Saturday. How many matches they play will depend on the outcome of their matches.

Stucky says it’s not just about regionals but training to make a run at another state title.

“Everything we do right now has a purpose in practice, and everything we do is reps that will help us move to just another level of better play. This week, it’s all about us improving.”

Laramie won last year’s sub-regional at home and the cross-regional tournament in Casper.

The focus is to win two to qualify for the state tournament next week in Casper at the Ford Wyoming Center.

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