Even though the Bayfield High School volleyball team came up short Friday night in the elimination bracket semifinals of the Colorado High School Activities Association’s Class 3A State Championships at the Denver Coliseum against Eaton, BHS head coach Terene Foutz still had a lot to smile about.
“I’m sitting here smiling because I know what this team went through to get here,” Foutz said following the Wolverines’ three-set loss. “One year ago, we were ranked 38th and didn’t qualify for a regional. Here we are pushing one of the best teams in the state and came up just three points short. We know full well we belong, and we’ll be back.”
The Wolverines (18-10) lost to the No. 10 seed Reds in straight sets, 25-22, 25-22 and 27-25, and brought an end to an otherwise stellar season.
Bayfield, the No. 12 seed, advanced to the elimination bracket semifinals after sweeping Eagle Ridge Academy 3-0 in Friday afternoon’s game.
On Friday night, the Wolverines went toe-to-toe with Eaton (21-8), as BHS held leads in all three sets, but were unable to hold on.
In the opening set, BHS took a late 21-20 lead, and tied it at 22 before Eaton closed on a 3-0 run to take the first set.
In Set 2, the Wolverines started the game on an 8-3 run, which forced Eaton head coach Gwen Forster to use a timeout. Eaton took hold of the set with a 4-0 run to make it 18-14, and Bayfield was unable to recover. BHS got within three points but could not pull closer and the Reds took the second set 25-22.
With the match teetering back and forth all night, Foutz said her players did not give in.
“I just wanted them to respond,” Foutz said. “Point after point they did that, and it was a great battle. We wanted to play our best volleyball of the season, and we did that.”
In the final set, Bayfield led by as much as five at 15-10, but Eaton clawed its way back and would tie the game at 18-18. The Wolverines took the lead at 24-23, but could not close out the set, as the Reds tied the match at 24. BHS also led 25-24, but Eaton did not give in and went on a 3-0 run to win the set and the match, 27-25.
“They played with a lot of maturity and aggression this weekend and it was really fun,” Foutz said. “This is why we come here. We came damn close to knocking off Eaton tonight. The kids played fantastic, and it was really a fun match. The seniors gave everything they possibly could to this program, and showcased leadership in every way.”
Eaton will play Colorado Springs Christian (23-5) in the elimination bracket championship match at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
In the afternoon match, the Wolverines took control early and earned the win, 25-13, 25-13 and 26-24.
Bayfield, the No. 12 seed, was led by sophomore Annie Fusco with 15 kills while senior Mavis Edwards recorded 21 digs, and senior Lana McKee added 15 digs of her own.
“I thought (our) middle hitters Melissa Roberts and Macee Schulz played a strong game,” said BHS head coach Terene Foutz. “(We’ve) been very consistent so far today.”
In the first set, BHS got off to a fast start and led 10-1. Bayfield would go on to extend the lead to as much as 14 points at 23-9 after Edwards slammed home a booming kill.
In the second, Bayfield got off to a commanding 11-4 lead. The Warriors (24-4) were unable to get the deficit closer than seven points, and BHS was able to pull away. With the Wolverines up midway through the set, Fusco put down a kill to make it 14-6 and forced Eagle Ridge to spend a timeout. The Wolverines led by 10 at 19-9 and closed the set on a 6-3 run to win
The third set was the closest of the afternoon. The Wolverines trailed by as much as four points at 13-9 before they went on a run to tie the match at 13. Later in the set, BHS went on a 5-1 run to make it 24-19. The Warriors fended off five consecutive match points to tie the score at 24. The Wolverines won the final two points after Edwards recorded another kill and had a quick set from Meghan Youngblood that beat the Warriors’ block to claim the set and match, 26-24.
The Dolores High School volleyball team brought an end to its season as well on Friday, as it fell to West Grand in the 2A elimination bracket.
West Grand (23-6) clawed back from a 2-1 deficit, and won in five sets, 25-23, 15-25, 9-25, 25-17 and 15-12.