Please excuse members of the Dolores High School Lady Bears volleyball team if they seem a bit tired. Three matches in four days, against top-notch competition, will have that effect sometimes.
Opening one of their busiest stretches of the season against the Ignacio Bobcats on Saturday, Sept. 28, the Lady Bears dropped the first set, but came back with vengeance, eventually winning, 23-25, 25-16, 25-13, 25-14.
Shortly after dispensing the Bobcats, the Lady Bears took on the Mancos Bluejays and again played well, winning in three sets, 25-15, 25-20, 25-11.
Then, after a two-day break, the Lady Bears played host to the undefeated Dove Creek Bulldogs and unfortunately, things did not go as well.
Perhaps fatigue played a role, or maybe, the Bulldogs were just that good, but whatever the case, the Bears were beaten, losing in three sets, 25-27, 18-25, 19-25.
Of the match's three sets, the first set was by far the most competitive as the Lady Bears battled hard to take a 21-20 lead, but after a series of back-and-forth points, the Bulldogs prevailed 25-27.
"We served well, we hit well, our passes weren't quite where they needed to be, but they were talking and thinking positive," said Lady Bears' head coach Gina Hollen, describing her team's play during the first set.
The solid play did not continue for the Lady Bears, however, as they dropped the second set by seven points, losing 18-25.
"We got frustrated with ourselves," Hollen said. "We weren't able to cover on defense, and they put the ball where we weren't."
In the third set, the Lady Bears managed to keep things somewhat close, but eventually, the Bulldogs' attack proved to be too much as the visitors pulled away for a 19-25 victory.
"I felt like we played to our potential," said Lady Bears' senior Brianna Schwartz, discussing her team's play. "Dove Creek was a good match for us."
"We need to focus on defense and controlling the ball," added Hollen. "I know we can play better."
After a much-needed break, the Lady Bears will return to action Saturday, Oct. 5, in Ignacio with matchups against Ignacio and Ouray.
Right now, we don't have much confidence, but we'll regain it," said Schwartz. "We need to keep working hard."