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Bracket busters: Chinle netters make 3A North Region title game

Bracket busters:  Chinle netters make 3A North Region title game


The Chinle Lady Wildcats played spoilers last week in the 3A North Region volleyball tournament.

The Wildcats upset top-seeded Tuba City in the semis, winning in five sets. They gave Monument Valley fits in the title game before falling in four.

The set scores were 23-25, 25-10, 25-8, and 25-19.

“I always tell the girls that anybody can beat us on any day, no matter where they’re ranked,” Monument Valley coach Rennell Gilmore said. “I mean, today’s result was no different from the other times we played Chinle. They’re a decent team, so we’re not surprised they took a set from us.

“Overall, we’re happy with the end results,” she added.

And while most people were hoping to see Tuba and MV battle it out, the Wildcats had other plans.

“I’ve always felt like we could push any team this year,” Chinle coach Francine McCurtain said. “It was just a matter of the girls communicating and getting on the same page, and that’s what the girls did.

“They stayed focused, and they started to believe in themselves,” she continued. “I’m just really proud of them. I’m not sure how long it’s been since Chinle has played in the championship game. I mean, this is my first one in the 3A North and my first as the Chinle coach.”

McCurtain said her squad had to win the regional tournament to make the playoffs as Chinle entered last week’s ranking at No. 28, with the Arizona Interscholastic Association taking the top 24.

“There were times that we struggled, but a couple of weeks ago, we started to click,” McCurtain said while adding that they had a lockout with all the volleyball team members staying overnight at the high school gym.

“That was a nice team bonding experience,” she said. “I think that kind of helped because the girls opened up a little bit, and the communication got better, so that helped.”

Despite coming up short, McCurtain said her squad would remember this as she is set to lose seven seniors this year.

“They played their hearts out,” she said of her senior class. “One of my top players is Shaundiin Yazzie, and she definitely did everything for us.

“I’ve had her since she was a freshman,” she added. “I’m really proud of her for leading by example. She’s real quiet and reserved, but in the middle of the season, she started to take the leadership role, and she ended up leading to our team.”

About The Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at


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