The Durango Demons knew they were on the bubble of being able to host a Class 4A regional volleyball tournament going into Friday’s regular-season finale at home against Fruita Monument. A win could have seen the Demons seeded as high as sixth, but a loss could mean having to go on the road.
A tough 3-1 loss to the Wildcats ultimately would see the Demons slip to the No. 9 seed when the Colorado High School Activities Association announced the eight regionals Monday. Now, Durango High School will hit the road to Colorado Springs to play against No. 17 Thomas Jefferson and No. 8 Discovery Canyon.
DHS (10-3), the champion of the 5A/4A Southwestern League, will first face Thomas Jefferson (10-3) at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The Spartans went 9-2 in the 5A/4A Denver Prep league to finish second behind Denver East, which earned the 13th seed in the 5AA regionals.
The Demons will look to slow sophomore Laila Hitton of the Spartans, who leads her team with 142 kills to go with 24 blocks. DHS will have to hit around junior Eliana Chanell, who leads the team with 41 blocks to go with 73 kills.
Discovery Canyon (8-3) finished third in the tough 5A/4A Pikes Peak League that features Rampart, the No. 2 team in the 5A regionals, and Cheyenne Mountain, the No. 2 seed in Class 4A. The team is led by senior Paityn Kramer, who has 104 kills in 43 sets played. Discovery Canyon senior Aaliyanna Codrington forms a formidable block with 39 this year to go with 58 kills.
Durango has been a strong serving team all year with 126 aces, but Discovery Canyon is every bit as good with 115 aces this season in six fewer sets. Kramer has 26 of those, while junior Kiley West leads the squad with 28 to go with a team-high 289 assists.
Durango will hope its well-rounded attack of Mason Rowland, Leah Wolf, Kyle Rowland, Paige Ammerman and Lainey Voss can keep the Thunder quiet. The Demons will also need to get back on track with three losses in their last five games after starting the season 8-0.