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BHS volleyball nabs IML title inside Lady Falcons’ nest

Bayfield blasting into last regular-season dates
The Bayfield Wolverines celebrate Friday in La Jara after defeating Centauri to secure the Intermountain League volleyball championship (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

Following Bayfield’s Oct. 14 home sweep of Centauri, head coach Terene Foutz had said:

“It takes both the coach and the team, and I was really proud of the team for staying calm under pressure.”

Facing a good deal more pressure eight days later in La Jara, the Lady Wolverines again rose above it and locked up the 3A Intermountain League title with a 25-21, 25-17, 15-25 and 25-15 defeat of Centauri.

“We walked into it knowing we needed to win if we wanted the IML,” junior Kori Jenkins said. “It was our big goal to win the IML this year, and … show people that we’re here to stay on top.”

“It’s just really important,” said senior Annie Fusco, who turned in a 23-kill, 20-dig double-double as BHS won its third consecutive match and fifth of six in October. “It feels great to finish off the season with the girls I started with in, like, seventh grade … and all these girls having a great mentality and energy.”

While Fusco fired at a .283 clip offensively, junior Kenasea Byrd downed eight kills at a team-high .467 as senior Sage Killough tallied 36 assists in helping Bayfield improve to 11-7 overall and 7-1 in the IML. Senior Payton Killough posted six kills at .250, and classmate Emily Nelson had six at .120.

“Their block was cheating on Emily and Annie … so I was trying to spread it out, get one-on-ones with Payton, Kenasea, get the slide ball,” Sage Killough said. “It was fun to get different sets in, and the outsides did great with the pressure they had.”

And akin to sturdy building materials like wood and concrete, consider the Lady Wolverines pressure-treated.

“Regardless of rotation, we’re starting to balance out; we do over-set our outsides a little bit but they’re terminating balls,” Foutz said earlier this season. “So until someone denies them we’re just going to keep the middle and that top outside separate, so they have to contend with somebody at the end of each rotation.”

Defensively, junior libero Myrah Abdallah-Boehm racked up a team-high 23 digs. Nelson dug 17 balls, senior Karyssa Gosney dug 11 and Sage Killough logged seven. Fusco and Byrd were also in on two blocks each as BHS kept the Lady Falcons (9-8, 4-3 IML) relatively in check.

“They didn’t let mistakes bother them,” Foutz said. “And Centauri, you know, I’d watched them up at Lewis-Palmer, I’ve watched them on film a lot. ... They’re an incredibly scrappy team, but Bayfield outplayed Centauri defensively.”

“We’ve really been pressing and getting good connections with the block, getting two people up … or going for every ball, not letting … it hit the ground while we’re standing and watching,” Payton Killough said. “It’s nice to see it all come together.”

Bayfield will wrap up its regular-season at Colorado Springs’ Discovery Canyon Invitational on Saturday, and begin – according to DCHS head coach Melissa Bravo – navigating Pool D at 8:30 a.m. against Springs-based 5A Air Academy and later 4A Colorado Springs-Coronado.

Results from BHS’ showdown Tuesday with 4A Durango (9-8, 4-4 4A/5A Southwestern) were unavailable at press time.

“We’re practicing hard, pushing through being tired,” said Sage Killough, “getting toward the end of the season.”

“It’s exhausting,” junior K’Lee Stuffelbeam-Jolly said, “but still fun; there’s something to look forward to every day.”

Around the Intermountain

Alamosa went 4-4 in league this season and stands 15-7 overall going into their regular-season finale Thursday at nonleague Fowler, ranked No. 3 in this week’s CHSAANow.com Class 2A poll.

Fowler stood at 17-1 overall before hosting Swink (2-19) on Tuesday.

Ending up just 2-6 in IML play, Pagosa Springs still checks in at 11-8 overall before hitting the Coal Ridge Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

Alamosa and Bayfield went into this week the second- and third-highest “Others Receiving Votes” teams in Class 3A.