No. 3 BHS wins the Silver Division at Palmer Ridge

Wolverines match up just fine against 4A, 5A competition in Colorado Springs

The Wolverines can add “strength of schedule” to their regional-tournament-seeding résumé.

The No. 3-ranked, Class 3A Bayfield High School volleyball team won the Silver Division title at the Palmer Ridge Tournament on Saturday in Colorado Springs, going straight through a bevy of Class 4A and 5A teams to get there.

After losing to ninth-ranked Class 5A powerhouse Highlands Ranch 25-19, 25-19, the Wolverines beat 4A schools Silver Creek (25-13, 17-25, 25-20), Palmer Ridge (25-12, 25-20, 25-20), then Mullen (21-25, 25-19, 25-18, 20-25, 17-15) in the championship match.

“The reality, honestly, against Mullen, is we didn’t play very well,” BHS head coach Kelley Rifilato said.

But after a “tough” 13-set-long day, she’ll take it.

“You know what, they gutted it out and found a way to win, but you know what, when you find a way to win that says something about your team, so I was proud of that,” Rifilato said.

“The pace of the match to begin with: very difficult.”

Saturday, Susie Rhodes was Rifilato’s star, coming up with 90 assists on the day.

Jennifer Phelps led the team with 43 kills, Kirstie Hillyer added 42, and Layne Bulwan had 27.

The team also had 21 total aces.

“Against 4A and 5A teams, I thought we did really well serving,” Rifilato said.

The tournament also should help the Wolverines when it comes to seeding in the regional tournament, which will happen Monday.

At 20-3 overall, the only thing that could hurt the Bayfield seed is its strength of schedule. And after Saturday, that schedule just got a lot stronger.

“We’re in the league that we’re in, and we get what we get, but that’s probably the hardest thing for us,” Rifilato said of the Intermountain League, where the Wolverines went undefeated this season, their fifth consecutive undefeated IML season.

heraldsports@durangoherald.com

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