Bears volleyball wins three of four
The Dolores Bears attack is diversifying, their confidence is growing and as a result, wins are becoming commonplace. Certainly a good thing for a volleyball team looking to make waves this postseason.
VICTORY OVER NUCLA
Kicking off last week's play against the Nucla Mustangs at home on Thursday, Oct. 10, the Bears demonstrated a flair for the dramatic, winning a five-set nail-biter, 25-20, 25-19, 21-25, 23-25, 15-10.
Throughout the first two sets, the Bears dictated play, using consistent hitting and strong passing to overwhelm the visiting Mustangs.
"The key was just to stay on our toes and play really good defense so we could set things up," said Bears' senior Brianna Schwartz of her team's play in the first two sets.
Especially impressive for the Bears was junior Taylor Elder, whose consistently hard hitting stood in stark contrast to her shots earlier this season.
"(Elder's) hitting has improved a lot," said Hollen. "Her timing is better, her elbow is up, and everything is being hit with force."
Looking to close things out in three sets, the Bears hit a roadblock as Mustangs sophomore Makayla Sutherland scored several pretty kills to lead her team to consecutive set victories.
Seemingly unfazed by the Mustangs run, the Bears came out strong in the fifth and decisive set, pulling ahead 7-5 following a block by Schwartz before closing out the set 15-10 on a spike by sophomore Courtney Blackmer.
"This win gives us a lot of confidence," said Bears' senior Abby Hopcia. "It's not good to get a big head, but we're pretty confident because we trust each other."
WIN VERSUS TELLURIDE
Following their dramatic win over Nucla, the Bears returned to their home court Saturday, Oct. 12, to play the Telluride Miners.
Although the Bears dropped the first set 18-25, they came back with vengeance, winning the next three sets 25-16, 25-19, 25-21 to capture the match.
LOSS TO RIDGWAY
Immediately after their victory over Telluride, the Bears matched up against the Ridgway Demons and things did not go as well.
After dropping the first two sets, 24-26, 18-25, the Bears rebounded to capture the third set 28-26 and the fourth set 25-20. Unable to maintain their momentum however, the Bears fell 10-15 in the decisive fifth set.
Leading the Bears in the loss were Blackmer (23 kills), Elana Bernholtz (4 aces), Schwartz (24 digs) and Larissa Umberger (51 assists).
TRIUMPH OVER MANCOS
Looking to rebound on the road against the rival Mancos Bluejays on Tuesday, Oct. 22, the Bears utilized a diversified attack to record a 25-18, 28-26, 16-25, 25-15 victory.
Keying the Bears victories in the first two sets was a diversified attack, led by the serving of Elana Bernholtz, the setting of Larissa Umberger and hard hitting of Blackmer.
In the third set however, the Bears ran into difficulties, falling behind 16-8 following a block by Bluejays' standout Courtney Colyer before eventually dropping the set.
"In the (third set), I think we were just so nervous because (Mancos) is our rival, and we were still trying to pull it together," said Blackmer.
Playing with a renewed sense of urgency in the fourth set, the Bluejays pulled ahead 23-16 before closing out the match with a Blackmer spike followed by a Blackmer ace.
"In the fourth (set), everyone just decided it was a game, and we just needed to have fun and be positive," said Blackmer. "We just sort of came together as a team."
With their season record now at 13-5, the Bears will play their final game of the regular season on the road against Ridgway, Friday, Oct. 18.
Sam Green/Cortez Journal