Long before their high school careers began, members of this year’s Dolores High School volleyball team dreamed of one day competing in the Colorado State Volleyball Tournament.
Now, after reeling off 21 straight victories, winning the San Juan Basin League and finishing first at the Class 2A District 3 Tournament last weekend, that dream is only two wins away.
The Lady Bears’ quest to qualify for state will conclude this weekend at the Class 2A Region G Tournament, which will take place in Dolores on Nov. 4. Dolores (21-1 overall, 13-0 in SJBL) will enter the tournament as the region’s top seed ahead of second-seeded Rangely (19-4, 11-1 in WSL) and third-seeded Telluride (15-8 overall, 8-5 in SJBL).
Telluride likely present stiff challenge
Scheduled to open the tournament against Telluride at 10 a.m., the Lady Bears will rely on an offensive attack that prioritizes consistent hitting and balance.
Sophomore outside-hitter Jordan Elder, who leads the team in kills with 277 kills, figures to get several balls set in her direction, as does junior middle blocker Tatum Majors, who has smashed down 148 kills this season.
Seniors Sierra Schwartz and Josie Majors, who have combined for 216 kills this season also figure to play a prominent role in the Dolores offense.
Defensively, the Lady Bears will look to several players, including Schwartz, Elder, and Tatum Majors to keep Telluride spikes off of the floor. All three players have registered at least 200 digs this season.
Although Telluride will enter the Region G Tournament as the region’s lowest seeded team, the Miners figure to challenge the Lady Bears, as evidenced by a competitive five-game match during last weekend’s District Tournament.
Senior Lauren Purdy, who registered 135 kills this season, and junior Sierra Shambaugh, who finished second on her team with 88 kills, will lead a deceptive Telluride attack that has proven difficult to defend this season.
If Dolores is able to stick to its game plan and avoid opening-match jitters however, there is no reason to think that the Lady Bears will not notch their fourth win over the Miners this season and take one step closer to state.
Rangely duo brings offensive firepower
Standing across the court from Lady Bears in Dolores’ second match of the day will be Rangely, which arrives at Regionals with a glowing record and wins against one of the top teams in the state.
Offensively, Rangely figures to lean heavily seniors Sarah Connor Katelyn Brown, who registered 159 kills and 156 kills, respectively. Connor’s presence at the net could also play a role in the match as she has blocked a team-high 97 shots this season.
Rangely’s most impressive wins of the season came over West Slope League rival Meeker, which lost just four games on the season. Dolores may take solace in the fact that Rangely lost to Telluride in a two-game match early in the season, however.
“The Colorado state tournament is our ultimate goal,” said Jordan Elder during an interview earlier this season.
In the event that Dolores defeats both Telluride and Rangely, a berth in the Class 2A State Tournament will be achieved and a season-long goal will be realized.