Durango High School’s Lainey Voss was nervous heading into the decisive fifth set in Saturday’s 5A/4A Southwestern League opener against Montrose. The junior outside hitter had been moved to the libero position just before the start of the set, and was unsure of how it would pan out.
It panned out just fine, as her serve game was instrumental on an 8-0 run that helped the Demons get past a talented Montrose team in the final set, 15-9. Durango (5-1, 1-0 5A/4A Southwestern League) held on to win in five sets, 25-20, 25-19, 17-25, 17-25 and 15-9.
“Lainey was the difference in that fifth set,” said DHS head coach Collen Vogt. “It was one of the reasons why I made that libero change. We kind of needed to get back scoring points on the serve. We knew that if we could keep Montrose out of system, that we could beat them.”
Voss finished with eight digs, two kills and a service ace, and while she was instrumental in the fifth set, she was not the only Demon who played a key role in the win. Millie O’Ketter finished with 17 kills, and Grace Caldwell and Sydney Summers combined for eight blocks to help Durango across the finish line. Madison Satterly led Montrose (7-3, 1-1 SWL) with 12 kills, while Caraline Burwell had 10, and Satterly had five blocks. Kelsey Rocco led Montrose with 18 digs.
“Going into that fifth set, I was super stressed getting thrown in at the libero position. I’ve never played it with this team,” Voss said. “I was stressed but knew that we needed to show some determination. We stepped onto that court and we wanted that (win). We took it, we showed that team that we wanted it.”
It was Durango’s first win over Montrose since 2017, and was only the second win since 2013.
In the fifth set, Voss started serving with the match tied at two, but when an attack error from O’Ketter ended Voss’ run, the scoreboard showed 10-2, and the Demons were five points away from victory. Montrose got it within five but would not get any closer.
“I think as soon as we got behind a little bit, we fell apart and got inside ourselves and started playing with a little fear,” said Montrose head coach Shane Forrest. “We just had a hard time recovering from that. Letting that happen in the fifth set was super disappointing.”
In the first set, Durango got off to a quick 12-9 lead before Montrose called its first timeout of the match. O’Ketter then recorded the set-winning kill to put DHS up 1-0.
In the second set, the Demons trailed by four early on but recovered to tie it at nine apiece on a kill from Paige Ammerman that put Durango up for good. The Demons then won eight out of the next 10 points to make it 19-12 before Montrose called a timeout to regroup. The Indians showed plenty of fight through middle blockers Burwell and Satterly, but it was not enough, as the Demons held off a late run to take the set and a 2-0 lead.
In the third, Montrose bounced back behind its outside hitters, Kelsey Rocco and Madisen Matoush. DHS came within three points, as the Demons clawed back to make it 17-20, but after a timeout, the Indians regrouped and scored the final five points to win the set. DHS had its highest hitting error total of the match at eight in the third set.
In the fourth, Montrose got off to a quick start and did not look back, as the Indians went on to take the set behind an 8-3 run. Momentum had shifted, but Summers knew that her team was not out of it by any means.
“I think we came into that third game and thought that we were going to take it up 2-0, but Montrose showed a lot of fight today,” she said. “Coming back was great because we showed a lot of fight in that fifth set, as well. The message from coach was just to fight hard for every point, and we did that.”
Durango will host Fruita Monument at 5:30 p.m. Friday at DHS.