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Durango, Bayfield and Ignacio qualify for volleyball regionals

Ignacio kicks off regional action on Friday
Millie O’Ketter of Durango High School has been a standout for the Demons this season. The senior will look to lead DHS to the state tournament.

All three area high schools qualified for the Colorado High School Activities Association’s regional volleyball tournaments when the draw was announced Monday.

Bayfield, Durango and Ignacio high schools all qualified for postseason volleyball after the three schools missed out last year. Here’s a closer look at each team’s regional draw:

Durango High School

The Durango High School volleyball team will travel to the Front Range for the 4A Region 12 tournament held at Skyview High School on Saturday in Thornton.

DHS (13-10) earned a tough draw as the No. 25 seed and will play No. 12 Skyview (22-1) in its first matchup. The Demons will follow up against a talented No. 13 Cheyenne Mountain (13-10) in their other match.

Durango faced stiff competition at the Mustang Classic at Ponderosa High School last weekend, where it went 1-3. The Demons beat Niwot but lost to Pine Creek, Fruita Monument and Chatfield.

Durango head coach Colleen Vogt said she believes her team will be up for the challenge this weekend.

“We’ve never played Skyview and haven’t seen Cheyenne Mountain in a while, but historically, they’re both very good,” Vogt said. “We played our last five games against great competition. We were tested down the stretch, but I think it was good for us. We’re used to the travel, and the girls feel that this is a great opportunity to advance to the next round.”

Vogt said the Demons will have to rely on their strong defense in order to advance to the state tournament.

“I think our message all year long has been to play our game,” Vogt said. “Our game is to show up defensively every day. We want to give our best effort and let the volleyball happen on our side of the net. If we can control the controllables and eliminate our errors, we have a good chance of winning. You’ve got to beat the best to be at the state tournament, and we’re very excited for this opportunity.”

The match times have yet to be determined.

Bayfield High School

The Bayfield High School volleyball team will hit the road for its 3A Region 11 matches, as the Wolverines will travel Saturday to Cedaredge.

BHS (15-8) is coming off a tough weekend to close the regular season after it went 1-3 at the Palmer Ridge Invitational against strong Class 5A and 4A schools. BHS beat Pueblo South in straight sets but lost to Coronado, Mullen and Palmer Ridge.

Lana McKee and the Bayfield High School volleyball team will look to dig out of regionals Saturday at Cedaredge to get into the state tournament.

The Wolverines earned the No. 14 seed and will open the regional against No. 26 Buena Vista (13-9) and will end the regional against No. 11 Cedaredge (19-4).

BHS head coach Terene Foutz said she feels her team is prepared after going against elite competition last weekend.

“(We’re) super excited; we like our chances,” Foutz said. “We played a tough 4A loaded tournament and just missed the win versus No. 6 Coronado and No. 10 Palmer Ridge. It was great preparation for the regional, and the kids are working very hard in the gym.”

The Wolverines will begin their regional following the Cedaredge-Buena Vista match, which is slated to begin at 9 a.m.

Ignacio High School

The Ignacio High School volleyball team will travel to the Front Range for its regional tournament, as the Bobcats earned the No. 30 seed and will travel to Kremmling to take on West Grand and Highland.

After being on the wrong side of the bubble heading into the final weekend of the regular season at the No. 37 spot, IHS suffered losses at the Rye tournament to the host and Sanford but went 2-2 overall during the weekend with two wins against Trinidad. Those wins were enough to get Ignacio into the tournament.

Ignacio High School’s Makayla Howell will lead the Bobcats into the Class 2A Region 7 regional tournament this weekend in Kremmling.

IHS (13-10) will open the 2A Region 7 tournament Friday against No. 7 West Grand (19-4) before a quick turnaround to face No. 18 Highland (15-8).

Ignacio head coach Thad Cano thought it was a favorable draw.

“I am just delighted and think we got the best possible draw we could get,” Cano said. “We’ve played some teams that have hung with West Grand and Highland. Nothing is written in stone because my team has been either hot or cold. It’s going to be up to them what they bring on Friday.”

The Bobcats will rely on their lone senior, Makayla Howell, who leads IHS in kills (214), hitting percentage (.294) and total blocks (119).

“The girls are pumped for it,” Cano said. “We had a talk today in practice, and we said, ‘Makayla, you’re the senior, this is your team and you’ve got to lead them.’ The girls are stoked, and going into this, there’s no fear at all. They know that they just have to perform at their level to achieve their goal. We have a fast-paced offense, so if we can limit our hitting and serving errors, we should be right in the thick of things.”

The times for Friday’s matches have yet to be determined.

bploen@ durangoherald.com

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