Shaun Stanley/Durango Herald
The Bayfield High School volleyball team ignored a week’s worth of homecoming distractions with a resounding 3-0 victory over Centauri on Saturday afternoon.
The Wolverines, who this week built floats, played powder puff football, went to classes, dressed up in Hawaiian costumes and cheered on the undefeated BHS football team, kept things simple against the Falcons: 25-8, 25-10, 25-10.
“It was very important to get this win,” Bayfield senior co-captain and homecoming queen Layne Bulwan said. “We had two important league games this week. We had Pagosa (Springs) on Tuesday and Centauri (on Saturday).”
And matching 3-0 homecoming-week victories.
Bulwan said the Wolverines made a conscious effort to focus and be more talkative in the homecoming match against Centauri.
“Our communication helped us be effective,” said Bulwan, the queen who ruled the kingdom’s court with a half-dozen kills, back-row attacks and a crowd-pleasing solo block in the third set.
“We also told each other – vocally – that we needed to make it faster, play faster, running to our spots, running back to serve,” said Bulwan, who also ripped three ace serves in a revitalized Bayfield service attack.
Bulwan, the daughter of James and Lorna Bulwan, scorched two jump-serve aces in a key five-point service streak in the final game.
“I’ve been struggling a little bit recently (serving),” Bulwan said. “But we serve a lot in practice. We serve so much in practice that I would be disappointed if I didn’t serve well (in matches).”
Bayfield head coach Kelley Rifilato also credited the aggressive serves in the Wolverines’ seventh consecutive Intermountain League victory without a loss.
The Wolverines, ranked No. 4 by coloradopreps.com, are 15-2 overall.
“This (match) was the first one where we really served tough. This was back to old-school Bayfield serving,” Rifilato said after the Wolverines totaled 18 ace serves in three quick sets.
More importantly, they only had five service errors.
Rifilato said senior co-captain Jen Phelps set the serving tone for the Wolverines when she moved away from her jump serve and returned to her standing float serve.
“Jen has a great standing float (serve). She has had it since she was a freshman,” Rifilato said.
Realizing her serving efficiency was better with the standing float serve, Phelps used it exclusively Saturday. She served Bayfield’s first three points of the match, including the first ace of the match.
“That was a very mature move on her part,” Rifilato said of Phelps, a four-year starter.
“Sometimes (the jump serve) isn’t efficient, and you can waste a lot of energy with the extra jumps,” the BHS head coach said.
Phelps also added a half-dozen kills and a pair of blocks in a match where sophomore Kirstie Hillyer dominated at the net for the Wolverines.
The 6-5 Hillyer, converting short sets in the middle from Suzie Rhodes, finished with 15 kills on 22 attacks – with no hitting errors.
“And that’s not the first time,” Rifilato said of the towering BHS sophomore.
“I thought Kirstie looked great. She’s improving every day. She is just a sophomore, and she is able to terminate the ball,” Rifilato said.
Hillyer is identifying the defense, then hitting the appropriate shots, Rifilato said.
Hillyer exploited virtually every Centauri overpass with uncontested kills.
“She and Kayla J. McCoy ... they are a force to be reckoned with,” Rifilato said of the BHS blocking combination of the 6-5 Hillyer and the 6-1 McCoy.
“This is the first dominant performance we’ve had as a whole,” Rifilato said. “We’ve had bits and pieces before. But this was more.”