The result was a one-sided Lady Bears’ victory at home, with set scores of 25-13, 25-10, and 25-19. Shortly after their third straight win, Dolores players posed for pictures, and junior Madison Rodriguez spoke about her team’s confidence.
“We feel pretty good,” Rodriguez said. “We know we have a lot to improve on and we can work on that in practice, but we’re working well as a team. We’re merging well, and when we get those good plays, it brings us together.”
Among the highlights from the match’s opening set were several strong serves by Dolores senior Tatum Majors, who appeared focused from the opening point in one of her best matches of the season.
After the Lady Bears opened the first set on an 11-4 run, Norwood called a timeout in an attempt to slow its opponent’s momentum. The short break in the action made little difference, as senior setter Abby Jones set up junior Jordan Elder and her teammates for several solid kills.
“I’ve been setting for this team for three years and playing with these girls since middle school,” Jones said. “They just keep getting better and better, and it’s fun to have them on the court with me. They’re all really strong hitters, so it doesn’t matter who I go to, I can rely on (everyone).”
While Dolores’ diversified attack stole the show during the first set, Rodriguez’s serving spurred the Lady Bears to victory in the second set as the junior hammered down numerous aces and kept Norwood defenders on their heels.
Rodriguez’s serving was so impressive that at one point during the second set, Norwood coach Ramona Rummel called a timeout in hopes of breaking the junior’s rhythm. But the Dolores junior continued to hammer the ball home, and by the time she was done, her team had reeled off 10 straight points en route to a 16-6 second-set lead.
“I’ve struggled with serves in the past, but I felt really good in this game,” Rodriguez said. “I plan to improve (my serves) even more so I can make that run even longer.”
Down two sets and fighting to extend the match, Norwood players battled throughout a third set that remained close in the early going. A series of hard kills by Elder and Majors eventually broke the Mavericks’ spirit, and the set eventually ended with a six-point spread.
As audience members clapped and cheered, the Lady Bears shook hands with their opponents and then stood near center court with head coach Gina Holland and exchanged high-fives.
Now winners of three straight matches and owners of a 5-3 overall record and a 4-1 record in the San Juan Basin League, the Lady Bears will return to the practice court in preparation for a road match against Nucla on Sept. 22.
“I felt like we played really well, but I think there are some things that we can improve on,” said Jones. “We’re going to work on some things in practice tomorrow and come out strong on Saturday.”
If Dolores plays anything like it did on Thursday night, there is no reason to believe that a four-game winning streak is not in the Lady Bears’ immediate future.