Friday night, the Bayfield High School volleyball team dropped the first two sets to a top-10 Class 4A opponent before rallying back to force a fifth set. But the Palisade Bulldogs got the better of the Wolverines in a tough fifth to win the match.
Saturday afternoon, the Wolverines once again found themselves down 2-0 on the road against a mighty Class 4A foe, this time at Montrose. Yet again, BHS rallied back to force a fifth set, and this time the Wolverines prevailed to secure a massive split of the tough season-ending road trip across the Western Slope. After going down 25-19 and 25-14 in the first two sets, BHS won the next three 26-24, 25-20 and 15-9. The sudden change could be attributed to trust in a change in offensive tactics.
“Grit and trust in the process got Bayfield through this match,” BHS head coach Terene Foutz said. “Unforced errors slowed us down, but we regrouped in the third set. I am proud of this team’s heart. It was a great learning weekend for Bayfield volleyball.”
Now, the Wolverines (9-4, 5-3 3A/2A Intermountain League) are in position to potentially host a Class 3A regional tournament next weekend even after finishing in third place in their league.
BHS climbed from sixth to fourth in the Colorado High School Activities Association RPI standings, while Alamosa, the second-place IML finisher, is in sixth. League champion Montezuma-Cortez has the top RPI in the classification.
The Wolverines entered the week seventh in the coach’s poll, while Cortez was fifth and Alamosa was 10th. Both the coach’s poll, RPI as well as the MaxPreps.com rankings factor into playoff seeding. The top-eight teams will host a regional May 1. Brackets will be released Monday.
Annie Fusco led BHS with 12 kills Saturday. Macee Schulz added 11, and Brooke Merchant finished with eight.
Sage Killough dished out 22 assists, while Bailey Martinez was thrust into the game in the third set and finished with 15 assists.
Emily Nelson led the way with 18 digs, while Fusco had nine more. Myrah Abdallah-Boehm recorded four aces.
The key for BHS in the match was a switch in the third set away from a 5-1 offense into the 6-2 that saw Martinez come off the bench to set alongside Killough.
Now, BHS awaits it regional fate.