DCHS volleyball survives scare
Bulldogs pull out 5-set victory over hungry Dolores squad
Facing a tough team from Dolores High School on Tuesday, Sept. 17, the undefeated Dove Creek Bulldogs volleyball team nearly got more than they bargained for.
After nearly two hours of back-and-forth volleyball however, the Bulldogs improved their record to 8-0 with a 22-25, 25-22, 17-25, 25-19, 15-9 victory.
Opening the first set against a clearly focused Bears team, the Bulldogs initially struggled, falling behind 13-16 after a kill by Bears’ junior Taylor Elder. Coming back with vengeance, the Bulldogs took a 21-19 lead following a series of hard serves by senior Madison Young and a great block by senior Corissa Guynes.
The Bears refused to go quietly, however, controlling play for the remainder of the set in route to 25-22 first-set victory.
“Dolores came out ready to play,” said Bulldogs’ head coach Scott Knuckles, describing the first set. “We played flat. We were not on our game at all.”
“We didn’t come out as the team that we usually are,” added Bulldogs’ senior Madison McCourt. “We were a little bit down. We’ve been having pre-game practices. We need to get back to real practices so we can come out strong instead of coming out like we did.”
Looking to get back on track in the second set, the Bulldogs fell behind 10-12 early after a huge spike by Bears’ sophomore Courtney Blackmer. Dove Creek quickly regained control, however, taking an 18-14 lead before closing out the second set with a 25-22 victory.
“It would have been three and out if we wouldn’t have gotten that second set,” coach Knuckles said. “It took us a few sets to get going.”
Looking to maintain their momentum in third set, the Bulldogs sprinted to an 8-4 lead following a solid serve by senior Shelbie Knuckles. Holding back the Bears proved impossible, however, and following a long Dolores run keyed by great serving by Bears’ junior Elana Bernholtz, the Bulldogs fell behind 16-11.
Fully in control and playing with a purpose, the Bears continued dictating play, building their lead in route to a 25-17 third-set victory.
With their backs pushed solidly against the wall, the Bulldogs played with urgency to start the fourth set, taking an early 7-4 lead on a nice tip by Shelbie Knuckles. Although the Bears tried to hang tough, the Bulldogs’ attack proved too much and after a huge spike down the middle by senior Jennifer Fury, Dove Creek secured a 25-19 fourth-set victory.
“The girls finally decided they were going to play, maybe, show up for a set,” coach Knuckles said. “I don’t know what really flipped the switch there, but they played like the team that I’ve been seeing.”
Intent on securing a match win with a fifth-set victory, the Bulldogs began the decisive set on fire, building an 8-3 lead on a spike by Shelbie Knuckles before holding on for a 15-9 set victory.
Bulldogs players breathed a collective sigh of relief after the win, clearly pleased to escape with their perfect record intact.
“(The close match) was good because it showed us that we can come back and have confidence in one another,” said Bulldogs’ senior Kristin Knuckles. “It’s definitely good (to be pushed) because it will help us prepare for state. It was nice to see all of the fans support us.”
“A win is a win, no matter how you get it,” added coach Knuckles. “It may not have been as pretty as we would’ve liked it, but Dolores came prepared. They are a good ball club.”
Sam Green/Cortez Journal