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Durango volleyball falls one game short of state tournament

Demons split regional action in Thornton

The Durango High School volleyball team’s bid to reach the Colorado High School Activities Association’s Class 4A state tournament fell just short on Saturday, as the Demons went 1-1 at the Class 4A Region 12 tournament in Thornton.

The Demons (14-10) came into the tournament as the No. 25 seed, and topped the No. 12 seed and hosts Skyview in the opening match in four sets, 25-18, 18-25, 25-8 and 25-20. In the second match against the No. 13 seed Cheyenne Mountain, DHS lost 26-24, 25-22, 25-27 and 25-18.

Cheyenne Mountain swept Skyview in straight sets in the final match of the day to claim the regional title, and denied Durango’s shot at state.

In the opening match against Skyview (22-2), Durango was led by senior Millie O’Ketter, who recorded a double-double with 17 kills and 22 digs. Paige Ammerman also had a strong game with 27 assists, 14 digs and five kills. She also recorded four service aces.

In the second match against Cheyenne Mountain (15-10), Durango narrowly dropped the opening two sets, as it fell 26-24, and 25-22, before rebounding back with a 27-25 win in the third set. In the fourth set, DHS was unable to extend the match, and lost 25-18.

The Demons relied on O’Ketter again for much of the offense, as she recorded 15 kills and 24 digs in another double-double effort. Ammerman recorded seven kills and nine digs, while Kyle Rowland added a team-high 24 digs, and Leah Wesley added 20.

Durango head coach Colleen Vogt thought the Demons played their best volleyball of the season, but came up just a bit short.

“(We) came out and did what we needed to do against Skyview to put us in a great position,” Vogt said. “We played great in our first match. We left it all on the court against Cheyenne Mountain, and honestly played our best volleyball in our last match of the season. Sets 1-3 could have gone either way, and I could not be more proud of this team and the way they battled and left it all out on the court today. It was a fun day of volleyball, and some things didn’t go our way, but we played amazing overall.”

Durango will lose four seniors, including O’Ketter, who is verbally committed to play at Northern Arizona University, as well as Emmy Romero, Sydney Summers and Kiley Ryan. DHS will return a strong contingent of upperclassmen, including Rowland, Wesley, Ammerman and Grace Caldwell.

“Only one team ends their season with a win though,” Vogt said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better fight today.”

bploen@durangoherald.com