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Durango volleyball needs 5 to beat Monticello

Demons outlast Monticello in wild home opener

Lia Henriksen made Durango High School’s third match point a charmed one.

The Demons’ senior middle blocker stuffed a Monticello tip to send DHS to a 19-17 win in Set 5 and a 3-2 win over the Buckaroos in Durango’s season opener at home Thursday in Durango.

“They did a lot of over-passing, so I was trying to watch out for that,” said Henriksen, daughter of Gordon Henriksen and Lissa Paak. “I got kind of lucky on that last one, I guess.”

She finished with six blocks and nine kills on the evening.

Monticello had a match point of its own at 16-15 before a block by Ellie Gervais and Henriksen saved the Demons.

“We had to get hands up, they had some really strong hitters,” said DHS senior Maddie Robertson, daughter of Jim and Susie Robertson.

Robertson blasted 14 kills, five of them in the fifth set to help DHS (1-0) start the season on a high note.

The largest lead in the fifth set was two, achieved twice by the Demons before it advanced past 15 points and required a two-point lead to win.

“I loved this situation (as a player),” DHS head coach Colleen Vogt said. “All I can hope is that I prepared them enough so that they love that situation.”

Monticello was playing its ninth game of the season. The Buckaroos ended last year in the Utah Class 1A semifinals.

They showed they could hang with the Class 4A Demons.

“That’s why we wanted to play this match. We wanted to be pushed, we wanted to battle,” Monticello head coach Tony Esplin said. “In our league, there’s not anything near this. We need these games to push us.”

The fact that it was Durango’s first game showed early.

They had four net violations in a critical stretch of the first set where Monticello (5-4) extended a 3-2 lead to 9-2.

“It was just early game jitters,” Robertson said. “We had to get rid of the ickies and play our game.”

DHS found its groove from the first play in the second set.

Gervais vanished a transition ball to give the Demons their first lead of the evening

They never trailed in the second set despite Monticello tying the match at 14.

The Demons controlled Set 3 after ending the second set with all of the game’s momentum.

DHS led by as many as 10 points before closing the set with an ace.

Durango’s block kept Monticello off balance for long stretches of the night and helped settle the Demons into the game.

“It’s really important because we have to protect the defense,” Henriksen. “We’re really trying to communicate so we can shut down the hitters on the other side.”

Monticello re-established itself in the fourth set.

The Buckaroos outscored DHS 12-5 after a tie at 6.

They also won the match’s longest rally to take a 22-17 lead.

Both teams kept the ball up after at least four attacks before Monticello finished the ball.

Monticello won three of the next four points to close out the fourth set 25-18.

Robertson was held without a kill in the set.

She reignited in the fifth set to help DHS start the year off with a win.

“A lot of fight – a lot of heart and a lot of heart for our first game,” Vogt said.

The Demons will need just as much for their second game.

DHS will visit Class 3A No. 8 Bayfield after losing to the Wolverines twice last year.

They’ll square off at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Bayfield.

“We’re looking forward to the high competition,” Henriksen. “We love playing Bayfield because it’s always really competitive no matter what.”

No cupcakes for the Demons.


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