Bears complete up-and-down season

Dolores volleyball players line up before a game as the starting lineup is announced.

For the Dolores Bears volleyball team, the 2013 season was one of mixed results. At times, the team appeared unstoppable. At times, the group looked lost.

Through all the ups and downs however, the Bears did show improvement, and with several young players returning next season, the future of prep volleyball in Dolores appears bright.



Among the Bears 13 victories, none were more rewarding than those over the Mancos Bluejays.

Over the course of three matches, the Bears won eight of nine sets from the Bluejays while completely dominating each match.

"We just sort of came together as a team," said Bears' sophomore Courtney Blackmer following her team's Oct. 22 victory over Mancos.



Without a doubt, the season's biggest disappointment came during the 2A District 3 tournament in Mancos on Oct. 26.

Entering the tournament with a 13-6 record, the Bears seemed like a strong bet to earn a berth to the regionals.

After stunning losses to Ignacio and Nucla however, the Bears' season ended on a sour note.

"Our passing wasn't there, and as a result, our sets were kind of off," said Bears head coach Gina Hollen of her team's quick exit.



Individually speaking, no player had a bigger impact for the Bears in 2013 than sophomore Courtney Blackmer.

Throughout the year, the tall hitter's ability to score from every spot on the court, while playing incredible defense, keyed several Bears' victories.

"(Blackmer) is definitely the most consistent hitter on the team," said Bears' head coach Gina Hollen of her standout sophomore.


Although the Bears will lose seniors Brianna Schwartz, Elana Bernholtz and Ali Umberger to graduation, the team should again be solid in 2014.

Returning players Larissa Umberger, Taylor Elder and Blackmer figure to play staring roles for the Bears, who will also add a promising group of freshmen to next year's roster.

"We're going to work on refining our skills," said Hollen. "We just need to learn to trust each other."