Opening the Class 1A State Tournament at the Denver Coliseum on Nov. 8, the Dove Creek High School volleyball team lost to McClave High School, 25-21, 21-25, 20-25, 14-25.
The match began on a positive note for the 11th -seeded Bulldogs, who sneaked into the tournament after receiving one of four at-large bids that were awarded to non-regional champions in Colorado’s 1A Classification.
Throughout the early stages of the match, Dove Creek continually looked to star outside hitter Cassie Gatlin, and the junior responded with several resounding kills early in the match that left McClave defenseless.
After Dove Creek captured the opening game 25-20, the Bulldogs appeared poised to pull away as several hard kills by Gatlin and two impressive blocks by senior Breea Meyer helped Dove Creek pull ahead 13-9 in the match’s second game.
A timeout by McClave appeared to change the momentum, however, and although Dove Creek battled hard and led 20-18 late in the second game, poor passing proved to be the Bulldogs’ undoing as they lost seven of the game’s final eight points.
Hoping to turn things around in the third game, Dove Creek received an energy boost from Meyer, who brought blue-and-gold-clad fans to their feet with two high-flying blocks, the second of which put the Bulldogs ahead 16-14.
A late-game lull again proved to be Dove Creek’s undoing, however, as the Bulldogs dropped seven of the final nine points of the third game on their way to a 25-20 loss.
Trailing two games to one and seemingly unnerved, the Bulldogs did their best to shift momentum in the match’s final game, but were unable to do so, as McClave jumped out to an early 8-2 lead.
Although a timeout by Dove Creek head coach Veronica Spangler briefly changed the tide and allowed Dove Creek to eventually cut its fourth-game deficit to 13-7 after a 4-0 run, McClave eventually pulled away to win the game 25-14 and secure the match victory.
With the loss, the Bulldogs’ overall record this season fell to 20-4, while McClave improved to 19-6on the year.
Dove Creek will now drop into the consolation bracket of the Class 1A State Tournament and play the winner of a match between Merino and Weldon Valley. The match is scheduled for Friday at 8 a.m.