Lady Bulldogs make regionals

For the first time in three years, the Dove Creek volleyball team is going to regionals.

The Lady Bulldogs (14-8) took second at the District-1 tournament at Olathe High School to advance in the postseason.

Dove Creek earned a hard fought 3-2 (25-20, 19-25, 20-25, 25-23, 15-12) win over Plateau Valley before dominating North Park in straight sets, 3-0 (25-16, 26-24, 25-16).

The Lady Bulldogs lost the championship final to Norwood, 3-0 (17-25, 19-25, 6-25), but Dove Creek is still playing. The Lady Bulldogs will play in the 1A Region-1 tourney, hosted by La Veta High School.

“Our goal was to get to the championship match. We were very pleased with that,” Dove Creek coach Scott Knuckles said. “We’re happy to go to La Veta and play some of the District-6 teams over there. We have a good chance of going to state. Anything can happen in volleyball.”

Dove Creek will play either Friday or Saturday. The date has yet to be determined due to scheduling conflicts with both La Veta and Cotopaxi’s football teams. La Veta is the District-6 volleyball champ, while Cotopaxi was third.

“I’m glad we gave ourselves a chance to go to regionals. It gives us that much more playing time,” Knuckles said.

Regional champions advance to state in Denver, while four other teams receive at-large bids to the state tourney.

Dove Creek had a chance to make things interesting versus Norwood with a 15-5 second set lead. But the Lady Mavericks stormed back with a 14-1 run to regain the lead at 19-16, eventually pulling away to win the set.

“With Norwood, we were competing really good. The girls were still on their game and feeling good,” Knuckles said. “All of a sudden, a light switched and Norwood went on a run. We just couldn’t get back into it.”

Against Plateau Valley, the Lady Bulldogs had to come from behind. Their five-set win carried huge momentum into the semifinals match against a strong North Park team.

Dove Creek started fast and finished fast to clinch a spot in the district title match.

“That was the best we played all year. We were able to slow down their good middle hitter. Our offense was just clicking. Everything just came together,” Knuckles said. “The second set, we let them back in it a little bit. They ended up tying us and they even had a chance to win it. But we dug in our heels, got the side out and got the next two points. I was very pleased with their performance in the North Park game.”

Dove Creek will play at La Veta either Friday or Saturday.

Check for scheduling updates and see Thursday’s Journal.