For Dolores seniors Cameron Schafer, Tatum Majors, Addie Jones and Tawnee Benavidez, a home volleyball match against longtime rival Mancos on Oct. 9 was more than just another game.
So, when the Lady Bears dominated three straight games in front of what was the largest and loudest crowd in Dolores this season, players could not help but be excited.
“Tonight, all of us were really excited because this is our rivalry game,” said Dolores senior Tatum Majors. “For us seniors, we just really wanted to go out with a bang. For me personally, (the rivalry) motivated me to hit harder. All of us are really great hitters, and that showed tonight.”
Among the keys to the 25-10, 25-18, 25-15 win was an offensive attack that featured numerous kills by junior Jordan Elder and top performances by Jones, Majors and others.
At times during the first game, Mancos head coach Brittany Lang could do little more than shake her head and smile as Dolores rained kills down on numerous open spots on the court. After Majors ended the first game with a kill, fans rained down cheers on their hometown team.
“(The crowd) was really cool,” Majors said. “We usually don’t’ get this big of a turnout for volleyball. It’s awesome to see that in our gym.”
While Mancos was outgunned and clearly affected by the absence of injured setter Emmallee Asnicar, the Lady Jays battled hard and hustled throughout the match.
Mancos’ most impressive moments came midway through the second game when senior Morgan Rose blocked kill attempts by Majors and Elder on consecutive plays and hammered down a kill to put Mancos ahead 8-7.
“We have had a lot of hardship this last week,” Rose said. “We have had a lot of rotation changes, and everything is completely different than it was at the beginning of the year. I think it’s really important to come together. ... We have to work as a team.”
After Dolores regained momentum and captured the second game, Lady Bears danced to AC/DC song that blared from the loudspeakers before breaking their huddle and returning the court to finish what they’d started.
Senior Cameron Schafer continued her team’s matchlong trend of solid serving and scored two consecutive aces to put her team ahead 6-2. Majors, Jones and Elder also hammered down aces during the third game.
“Coach (Gina Hollen) tells us where to serve so we can get the point,” Schafer said. “I missed a few, but I still got the ball over. I just focus on getting points (when I’m serving).”
Dolores improved to 9-3 overall and 7-1 in the San Juan Basin League with the victory, while Mancos fell to 6-7 overall and 5-3 in the SJBL with the loss. Dolores’s next matchup will take place at home against Ouray on Oct. 13, and Mancos will travel to face Norwood on Oct. 12.
“Since we went to state last year, that’s our big goal,” Schafer said about the Lady Bears’ goals.
“We’re going to power through and hopefully, we can pull out a few more wins,” said Rose, of the Lady Jays.