Dove Creek captures regional volleyball title
The parking lot was full, the atmosphere was electric, and with a regional championship on the line, the Dove Creek Bulldogs volleyball team did not disappoint.
WIN OVER NORWOOD
Entering the 1A Region E tournament in Dove Creek as the region’s top seed, the Bulldogs opened play on Nov. 2 against the always tough Norwood Mavericks, winning a competitive four set match, 25-12, 17-25, 25-20, 25-12.
Looking every bit the top 1A team in Colorado, the Bulldogs came out on fire, using a long run to move ahead 19-10 before closing out the first set 25-12 on a nice serve by Madison Young.
“Our passes were great. We were getting good sets. We weren’t afraid to hammer down,” said Bulldogs’ senior Corissa Guynes of her team’s opening set performance.
Playing with slightly less efficiency in the second set, the Bulldogs had trouble finding a rhythm, falling behind 19-15, before allowing the Mavericks to close out the set, 25-17.
“We weren’t rotating back to our spots,” explained Jessica Guynes. “We just needed to get it together.”
Get it together the Bulldogs did in the third, pulling ahead 7-2 early before closing out the set 25-20 following a series of kills by Shelbie Knuckles and a nice tip by Young.
Looking thoroughly dominant in the fourth set, the Bulldogs pulled ahead 16-6 on a block by Jennifer Fury before winning 25-12 on a kill by Fury, which ignited the home crowd.
“We didn’t miss a single serve against Norwood, which was a complete turnaround from the last time we played them,” said clearly pleased Bulldogs’ head coach Scott Knuckles. “We’ve been working on keeping our serves in and the girls did awesome.”
Statistical leaders for the Bulldogs against Norwood were Shelbie Knuckles (16 kills), Jessica Guynes (15 kills), Kristin Knuckles (20 digs) and Young (35 assists).
Looking to lock up the regional title against the Centennial Rams, the Bulldogs had little difficulty, rolling to a 25-11, 25-9, 25-12 victory.
Clearly the superior team, the Bulldogs worked hard to maintain their focus through multiple Rams’ hitting errors, which made it difficult to find any kind of rhythm.
“I felt like we got a little bit complacent,” said Scott Knuckles. “We got caught standing a couple times. We need to keep up our intensity.”
Even with their slipups however, the Bulldogs did enough to win and were thrilled with their regional championship.
“It feels great to be regional champions,” said Shelbie Knuckles. “I love the girls that I play with. I’ve grown up with them. The nine years that we’ve played volleyball, these are the weeks that we’ve been waiting for.”
Leading the way for the Bulldogs against Centennial, Fury recorded three aces and eight kills while Young had ten digs and 30 assists.
While 1A State Tournament seeding had yet to be determined as of publication deadlines, the Bulldogs will travel to Denver to participate in state tournament games on Nov. 8-9.
“We just have to take it one match at a time,” said Scott Knuckles. “We’ve been there before and the girls know what it’s like. We can’t be intimidated by anybody.”
Sam Green/Cortez Journal