Durango was a determined team Tuesday night, and it showed immediately.
The Durango High School volleyball team stormed out to an 8-3 lead in the first game at Bayfield High School. The Wolverines called a timeout, but it didn’t get any better in the first game or much of the rest of the night, as the Demons rolled to a 3-0 win behind game wins of 25-9, 25-20 and 25-17.
“We had so much fun,” said DHS junior outside hitter Millie O’Ketter. “We all wanted this win. It’s been a rough season, but we’ve worked our way through it with practice. We were relentless and willing to give anything to win.”
The Demons (4-7, 2-2 5A/4A Southwestern League) had the more organized passing game and committed fewer errors. O’Ketter and senior middle blocker Taylor Wolf each had six kills. Paige Ammerman, a sophomore, led DHS with eight assists, and junior setter Emmy Romero added seven. O’Ketter also was a force defensively with a team-high 14 digs. Wolf added a team-high four blocks and three aces, while Kyle Rowland led DHS with five aces.
“The kids have worked so hard in practice and really worked on eliminating errors, and it really showed,” DHS head coach Colleen Vogt said. “The last three games, we’ve played much better volleyball, and I’m really proud of that.
“The team dynamic is so positive that I feel everyone isn’t afraid to make a mistake because they have teammates building them up, and that’s helping us grow.”
Bayfield (3-8, 2-2 3A Intermountain League) responded well in the second and third games, but it wasn’t enough, as errors continually put the Wolverines behind. Head coach Terene Foutz was impressed with the play of junior libero Mavis Edwards. The tennis star shined with a game-high 19 digs in the match.
“We often rely on our pass game, and it’s usually better than it was tonight,” Foutz said. “The one kid that really did a great job with that was Mavis Edwards. I liked her in a libero jersey. She made some really great plays for us tonight, and she’s very calming. It’s great to have a player like that around some of the kids who are learning to deal with the serve.”
The Demons dominated the first game. After Durango took a lead of 11-4, the Wolverines called timeout. But that didn’t fix the team’s passing errors, and Foutz was forced to call another timeout as the Durango lead ballooned to 18-4 before the Demons secured the game win 25-9.
Durango’s 25-20 win in Game 2 came after the Demons trailed early in the set. Vogt called a timeout with her team down 16-14, and the Demons responded with four consecutive points to take an 18-14 advantage. Serving errors cost both teams late in the set, but the Demons played more clean and came away with the set win to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Durango’s student section showed up early in the second game and created a buzz inside the gymnasium, with the Bayfield “Rowdy Crowd” dressed in all black and the Demons’ students in all white. Durango’s cheers also brought more energy out of the Bayfield fans, who were there to celebrate the start of homecoming week.
“Our student body is so supportive,” O’Ketter said. “It made the atmosphere so much more exciting.”
DHS took a quick 11-6 lead in the third game, but the Wolverines responded out of a timeout to cut it to 11-9. But Durango’s lead quickly grew to 16-10, 18-11 and eventually 20-13 before the 25-17 result.
BHS has only three seniors and several starters who are new to varsity this year.
“We are building experience right now,” Foutz said. “It’s a week-to-week process. We have good moments. What we have to get over is their self worth being only as valuable as their last error. We’re trying to get them to believe in themselves at a lot stronger level for a longer period of time – to be better than their last kill they got or the last error they made. This season is gonna be that way with ups and downs, but I’m in it. I’m going to keep developing because we have a goal we’re trying to attain. My hope is that we do that in the next two to three seasons.”
BHS will play Saturday at La Jara in big IML match against Centauri (6-5, 2-2 IML). The Wolverines played the Falcons tough in a 2-0 loss at the Palmer Ridge tournament Sept. 8.
The Demons will play four games this weekend at the Battle Mountain tournament in Edwards and will try to build on a two-game winning streak.
“To get two in a row, we’re on a roll now,” Vogt said. “We get four this weekend. If we can at least split up there, that would be great.”