Once Durango set up its defense against the roll shots of Montrose, the Demons took control.
For the second time this season, the Durango High School volleyball team found itself in a five-set match against the 5A/4A Southwestern League rival. This time, it came Friday night at Montrose High School.
Tenth-ranked Durango once again prevailed 3-2, winning 21-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-21 and 15-8.
“The girls are super excited. They worked so hard from beginning to end,” DHS head coach Kelley Rifilato said of her team’s season sweep of No. 15 Montrose (5-4, 2-2 SWL), which entered the season ranked sixth while DHS was unranked. “We started strong in the first set even though we lost it. And we had a lead in the third when we lost that one. We just found a way to battle through the fourth. In the fifth, we ended up really stepping on the accelerator and not making many errors.”
DHS (7-0, 5-0 SWL) had 12 aces in the win, an area the Demons have excelled all season.
The attack again was very balanced. Mason Rowland and Leah Wolf led the team with 10 kills each. Kyle Rowland and Paige Ammerman both finished with eight.
“Defensively, we really got after a lot of balls,” Rifilato said. “They tipped and rolled on us a lot. Early on they were scoring on that, and we committed to playing defense against it. We started converting those into points for us, and that’s what got us out to a lead in that fifth set.”
With three league matches remaining, DHS first let thoughts of a league title creep in after Friday night’s win. But DHS has a tough non-league slate to focus on for the foreseeable future with Pagosa Springs to visit DHS at 2 p.m. Saturday and a home match with 3A Bayfield on Wednesday before a huge match at undefeated Montezuma-Cortez at 6:45 p.m. Thursday.
“We have a tough week next week with the back-to-back games,” Rifilato said. “Those are good games that will help our RPI. We are definitely trying to finish strong. This season is so compact, it’s been about getting the team to know each other and build as a team, and they have risen to the challenge and stuck together. That was noticeable in this five-set win.”