Wolverines avoid ‘homecoming’ distractions

BAYFIELD – The Wolverines endured all the distractions of homecoming at Saturday’s volleyball match against Alamosa.

Only, Bayfield High School’s homecoming isn’t scheduled for two weeks.

“We didn’t have much energy (Saturday),” Bayfield head coach Kelley Rifilato said after the Wolverines beat the Alamosa Mean Moose 3-0 in an Intermountain League match.

“It felt like a homecoming week with all the busy stuff going on,” Rifilato said.

The Bayfield volleyball team, in addition to a full week of school and practice, beat Aztec 3-0 in a nonconference match Thursday.

“We practiced until 5:30 (Friday), and then they all went to the football game as a group to support the boys,” Rifilato said.

“Then, (Kayla J.) McCoy’s sick. She texted me (Saturday morning) ... she’s got the stomach flu,” Rifilato said. “I told her, ‘Don’t you even come down here.’”

The Wolverines, per usual, took the lineup change in stride. They had played in the early season without McCoy in the middle when she suffered an ankle injury.

“We did this before ... when I asked Katy (Funkhouser) to move to the middle; that way I didn’t have to move everyone else,” Rifilato said of an adjusted Wolverines’ lineup that produced a 25-16, 25-20, 25-17 win over Alamosa.

“We all work together to get it done,” said Funkhouser, who contributed three kills to the opening-set, nine-point victory. “We all know what to do.”

Funkhouser, the daughter of Madonna and Todd Funkhouser, said Bayfield sophomore setter Suzie Rhodes spread the ball effectively to the Wolverines’ attackers.

“She’s a great little setter. It’s fun working with her,” Funkhouser said after Rhodes totaled 30 assists against the Mean Moose.

Senior Jen Phelps, a four-year starter for the Wolverines, was on the receiving end of most of those Rhodes’ sets.

Phelps finished with 15 kills – from inside, outside and the back row – on 25 attacks.

“It seemed like she had a lot of errors, but look, she only had four attacking errors,” Rifilato said of her senior co-captain.

Kirstie Hillyer, Bayfield’s 6-5 sophomore, added 13 kills for the Wolverines in victory. She also had three blocks.

Senior co-captain Layne Bulwan added 10 kills as the Wolverines extended their IML regular-season winning streak to four years and counting.

Bayfield (10-1, 1-0 IML) is ranked No. 3 in Class 3A volleyball by coloradopreps.com.

“We didn’t pass well on serve-receive,” Rifilato said.

“That might be the less focus because of the busy week.”

But, she said, the Wolverines served effectively. They posted 13 aces to only five service errors in topping Alamosa – 6-5, 0-1 IML.

“This does show the versatility we have as a team,” Rifilato said. “It shows our team is able to pick it up in one spot instead of moving 14 people around.”

She said the Wolverines need to be ready for more busy weeks ahead, too.

“We’ve got two matches next week ... then it’s busy for the rest of the way,” Rifilato said.

The Wolverines will play their rivalry match Tuesday at Pagosa Springs, then will play Thursday at Centauri.

Their next home match will be Oct. 4 against Monte Vista.

“I guess this is good that we get a taste of what homecoming will be like in two weeks,” coach Rifilato said.

During the real homecoming week, Bayfield will host Pagosa Springs (Oct. 9) and Centauri (Oct. 13), then will have two more regular-season matches and a tournament before postseason play begins.

dstrode@durangoherald.com