DHS volleyball terrorizing SWL

Durango on 17-match league win streak heading into Cortez matchup

Jessie Brammer and Durango volleyball haven’t lost a Southwestern League match at the varsity level since 2010. In that span, the Demons have lost just six total games in 17 matches, sweeping 13 matches. Enlarge photo

Steve Lewis/Durango Herald file photo

Jessie Brammer and Durango volleyball haven’t lost a Southwestern League match at the varsity level since 2010. In that span, the Demons have lost just six total games in 17 matches, sweeping 13 matches.

October 16, 2010.

For those counting, that’s the last time the Durango High School volleyball team lost a Southwestern League match.

That’s 17 in a row and counting.

On that night nearly two years ago, Durango fell 3-2 to Grand Junction Central. Since then, the Demons have unleashed their own personal reign of terror on the conference, dropping just six total games in 17 matches. All but four of those victories took place in a tidy three games.

Senior setter Natalie Bulen said the accomplishment stacks up with the best of them during her tenure, and that includes two consecutive trips to state and district and regional championships.

“It stacks up pretty far up there. I mean, to keep our winning streak in league, it really stacks up next to state and next to winning regionals, because in our league, there’s always that really competitive spirit,” said Bulen, daughter of David and Janine Bulen.

The Demons (10-4, 5-0 SWL), ranked No. 7 in Class 4A by coloradopreps.com, will meet one of the teams to take them the distance in this run, Montezuma-Cortez, tonight in their annual Pink Digs for a Cure match. Outside hitter McKenna Franzen said that the Panthers’ style of play caused DHS to have to make defensive adjustments on the fly, which took some time to do. That style, which she said DHS has been studying on film during a layoff of more than a week, helped push the Panthers into a long match.

“We had to adjust our defense last time because they were kind of playing a slower game than we’re used to and they like to hit deep corners. ... We had to adjust our defense, and it took us awhile to finally figure it out and to wait on the blocks,” said Franzen, a senior and the daughter of Gary and Regina Franzen.

The other five-setter came last time out against Montrose, when DHS went down 0-2 before rallying for victory. Getting on top of teams early, which DHS didn’t do against the Indians, can help Durango use the streak for a mental advantage. Everybody wants to topple the biggest fella in the room, but when initial returns aren’t positive, doubt can creep in to the minds of the opposition in a hurry.

“Us coming out loud and competitive and strong is also a really big factor in that, and that’s just how our team is. We just really feed off each other’s energy,” Bulen said.

And the streak itself is a motivating factor for Durango. Nobody wants to be on the team that saw such an impressive run come to an end, especially with a third-consecutive SWL championship on the line. Especially with the expectations such a winning run creates.

“I’d say we take a lot of pride in it. It’s nice to be recognized as a very successful program at the high school,” Franzen said. “Whenever somebody thinks about DHS volleyball, they’re like, ‘Oh, it’s a very well-rounded program, successful.’

“Personally I take a lot of pride in that because being a part of something that good and that wholesome, I guess, it feels good.”

rowens @durangoherald.com