Dolores lives, dies in 5 sets
Bears beat Norwood before dropping match to Dove Creek
Over the course of the last week, the Dolores High School Bears' volleyball team has certainly run the gamut when it comes to emotions.
Beginning a tough five-day stretch on the highest of highs after a tight five-set road victory over the Norwood Mavericks, the Bears concluded the stretch on the lowest of lows after a tough five-set road loss to the Dove Creek Bulldogs.
Playing at Norwood on Friday, Sept. 13, the Bears started slowly before eventually winning the roller-coaster match in five sets, 16-25, 25-23, 25-22, 22-25, 18-16.
Speaking of the Bears victory, which was only secured after a series of extra-points in the fifth set, head coach Gina Hollen said, "We did pretty good. We made a few mistakes, but the girls battled back and made adjustments as needed."
Looking to follow their victory over Norwood with a second consecutive win, the Bears travelled to Dove Creek on Tuesday, Sept. 17, to play the Bulldogs in what would end up being an epic five set match, 25-22, 22-25, 25-17, 19-25, 9-15.
After falling behind early in the first set, the Bears hung tough and eventually opened up a 16-13 lead after a great spike down the middle by junior Taylor Elder.
The Bulldogs were far from done however, and after a nice block by Dove Creek senior Corissa Guynes, the score stood at 21-19 in favor of the Bulldogs.
Refusing to relinquish the set, however, the Bears would regain the lead 24-21 behind solid serving by sophomore Larissa Umberger and eventually take the set 25-22 courtesy of a beautiful cross-court spike by junior Elana Bernholtz.
"It was pretty important," said sophomore Courtney Blackmer, describing her team's first set victory. "We've been changing rotations around, so it has been pretty tough. It was good to get off to a solid start."
Demonstrating a renewed sense of urgency in the second set, the Bulldogs played well. After a series of competitive points, Dove Creek seized an 18-14 lead, but Dolores hung tough, pulling to within one point at 22-21 after a great cut shot by Larissa Umberger.
The Bulldogs refused to yield, however, eventually pulling away to win the second set by a score of 25-22.
Looking to regain momentum in the third set, the Bears fell behind 8-4 early before going on a long run to open up a 16-11 lead after an ace by Bernholtz.
A hard serve by senior Brianna Schrwartz gave the Bears an 18-13 lead, and the Bears would eventually pull away, winning the third set by a score of 25-17.
Aiming to close things out in the fourth set, the Bears ran into problems.
After falling behind 15-8 after staying close early in the set, the Bears were unable to regain momentum, falling 25-19 on a spike down the middle by Bulldogs' senior Jennifer Fury.
"We missed a lot of passing," said Hollen, describing the fourth set. If a good pass isn't there, we can't set it up."
Looking like a team on their heels to begin the decisive fifth set, the Bears fell behind 8-3 and 13-6 before briefly regaining momentum.
A series of nice spikes by Blackmer pulled the Bears to within five points at 14-9, but the run was too little too late.
After a big spike by Dove Creek senior Shelbie Knuckles, the set concluded with a 15-9 Bulldogs' victory.
"At the end, we kind of broke apart," said Blackmer. "Then we came back together. I think we could have won at the end if we had a little bit longer."
With the loss, the Bears fell to 4-3 on the season while the Bulldogs improved to 8-0.
Next up for the Bears is a road matchup against Pagosa Springs on Thursday, Sept. 19, followed by a road matchup against Telluride on Saturday, Sept. 21.
Sam Green/Cortez Journal