The Dolores volleyball team had 12 months to mull last year’s regional heartbreak and hoped to rewrite its script. This time, the Bears rolled through the 2A Region 10 tournament and captured a spot in the 12-team field at the Colorado championships next weekend.
The Bears (21-4, 12-0 SJBL) opened regional play against No. 27 seed Soroco (12-10) in front of a loud home crowd. Immediately, Dolores gave fans something to cheer about, pouncing on the Rams to take 11 of the first 13 points of the match. Senior middle hitter Jordan Elder, who has spearheaded the Bear attack all season, was almost unstoppable. When she wasn’t swatting another kill to the M-CHS gym floor, she was blocking the Rams’ attackers.
With Elder briefly on the bench, Soroco worked back into the contest, closing to 11-8, but the Bears responded with a run to keep them at arm’s length and won the set, 25-20.
Dolores carried its momentum into the second set, controlling net play with outside hitters Erin Brown and Sydney Smith joining in on the hitting parade in a comfortable 25-11 win.
Soroco won the third set, 25-20, to set up a tense fourth set. The Bears answered every Soroco rally before prevailing 25-21 to take the match, 3-1.
Shortly after No. 15 seed Clear Creek (16-9) also beat Soroco in four sets, the Bears took the floor against the Golddiggers with a spot at the Denver Coliseum on the line.
Dolores sought to take the drama out of the contest from the start, dismantling Clear Creek with controlled play from its back line, led by junior libero Akira Edwards, and winning the opening set, 25-17.
Clear Creek hung around in the second set, but Dolores again made a decisive run to win, 25-20, bringing the Bears within a set of a regional title. Sensing the opportunity, Dolores roared into the third set, keeping the Golddiggers on their heels in an impressive 25-16 clincher. After the final point hit the floor, the celebration ignited as the Bears punched their ticket for the 2A state tournament.
Dolores will be seeded ninth and will open against Fowler in the tournament. The winner of their 8 a.m. match on Thursday at the Denver Coliseum will take on top seed Denver Christian at 2 p.m.
Bulldogs fall in regional finalThe Dove Creek Bulldogs saw their dream of a second consecutive 1A state tournament appearance turned away on their home floor. Hosting the 1A Region E tournament, the Bulldogs advanced the regional championship match, thanks to a dominant 3-0 victory over North Park (6-17).
The Bulldogs (21-2, 10-1 SJBL) couldn’t overcome a powerful La Veta (24-1) squad, however, and the Redskins marched out of the regional playoffs with a 25-20, 25-16, 25-10 sweep of the Bulldogs.
Monday morning, the Dove Creek Lady Bulldogs learned that a win over lowly Walden-based North Park and a loss to La Veta wasn’t enough to earn wild card berth into the 2019 state volleyball tournament.
Bulldogs seniors Cassie Gatlin, Kiara Lingenfelter and Taylor Hickman compiled a 69-27 record during their years on the team, making them one of the winningest classes to go through Dove Creek.
Panthers set hopes high for futureMontezuma-Cortez High School (13-9, 4-6 3A IML) wrapped up its season at the 3A Region 7 tournament in Lamar, falling 3-1 to No. 7 Lamar and 3-0 to Platte Valley.
Lamar (18-5), ended up capturing the regional crown, but not without a scare from the No. 30 Panthers.
M-CHS jumped on Lamar out of the gate, stealing the first set 25-20. The Savages quickly got the home crowd back behind it and deflated the Panthers with a 25-8 win in the second set, then took the third and fourth sets, 25-14 and 25-12.
The Panthers then lost in straight sets to Platte Valley, 25-10, 25-19 and 25-17.
M-CHS will have its sights set high for 2020, however, as they graduate only one senior, Malia Begay. The Panthers also capped off their second consecutive winning season, the first time they have been above .500 in back-to-back years in over a decade.