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Dove Creek’s Lexi Gray is named league’s Player of the Year

Dove Creek's Trista Barnett, left, and Lexi Gray raise the 1A-Region 8 tournament's first-place plaque after Dove Creek swept the regionals to advance to the state volleyball championships in Denver. Barnett, Gray and Kalie Gatlin were selected to the All-San Juan Basin League. (Joel Priest/Special to The Journal)
Four Bulldogs, three Bluejays, one Bear named to all-San Juan Basin volleyball teams

For fans of Dove Creek athletics, the autumn of 2022 will be one that they won’t soon forget.

Compiling one of the best seasons in program history, the Dove Creek volleyball team earned the first series of accolades after an incredible 27-2 season, culminating in a league and regional title, as well as the program’s second consecutive state tournament appearance.

With plenty of hardware to add to the trophy cases, the Bulldogs keep adding to the impressive haul of postseason honors, as four Bulldog players and their coach earned All-San Juan Basin League recognition.

Dove Creek’s Kalie Gatlin looks to set for Kylie Gatlin during the Bulldogs' 1A-Region 8 tournament opener versus Westminster Flatirons Academy. Kalie Gatlin was selected to the all-league first team, and Kylie Gatlin was selected to the second team.
Dove Creek volleyball coach Lacey Murphy has been named Coach of the Year in the San Juan Basin League. (Joel Priest. Special to The Journal)
Mancos senior Shelby Jabour has been named to the All-San Juan Basin League volleyball team.(Ben Bradley/Special to The Journal)
Riley Cannon and Teya Yeomans (5) keep the ball in play for their teammates earlier this season. Yeomans has been named to the All-San Juan Basin League volleyball team.
Mancos' Jessie Wallace (3) has been named to the All-San Juan Basin League volleyball team. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

The parade of local athlete recognition didn’t stop there – three Mancos athletes capped their tremendous season with All-SJBL honors, and Dolores earned a selection to the postseason honor roll as well.

Dove Creek senior Lexi Gray picked up the league’s Player of the Year honor, serving as a dominant force at the net all season for the Bulldogs. She joins classmate Trista Barnett and junior Kalie Gatlin on the first-team All-SJBL squad.

Junior Kylie Gatlin picked up a second-team nod for the league champs, and head coach Lacey Murphy capped off the list of DC honors by being named Coach of the Year.

Not only did Gray and Barnett land on the first team, but the Class of ’23 duo have been chosen to participate in the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports All-State games. Taking place at Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins on Sunday, Nov. 20, the games serve as a showcase for senior volleyball talent across the five Colorado classifications.

Gray and Barnett represent the 1A classification, two of the 80 players selected statewide by panel of coaches from across the Centennial State. Selections were based on traits of dedication, leadership, team play, and talent, and the DC tandem wrap up their high school volleyball days on the court amongst some of the best in the state.

Mancos, Dolores earn all-league selections

After one of the program’s best ever seasons, the Mancos volleyball program tallied three picks on to the SJBL team as well.

Senior Shelby Jabour and junior Teya Yeomans picked up nominations for the first team after the Jays posted an 18-7 record and a regional tournament appearance in the 2A classification.

Jessie Wallace, from the class of ’23, joined the list of players selected to the second team, leading Mancos to a third-place finish in the league standings.

Dolores senior Chandler Smith capped off a strong career for the Bears, helping a young Dolores program to a 7-13 record. In the process, Smith earned a first-team selection to the SJBL team.