Dove Creek Volleyball looks to keep winning – The Journal

Shania Kibel of Oove Creek jumps to attack Walden-based Jazmin Martinez of North Park in the 2019 regional competition.

Joel Priest / The Journal Special

Lady Bulldogs enter season as reigning league champions

DOVE CREEK – After another stellar season crowned with a San Juan Basin League title, head coach Lacey Murphy has her Bulldogs ready for another run for the league crown. With a solid returning cast and balanced lineup, Dove Creek has all the tools to replicate and surpass last season’s run to the regional title game.

The Bulldogs were 10-0 in the SJBL last year and have several comebacks that have played a big part in their success. Senior captain Tara Buffington will help lead the way, moving from her position as a Libero last year to a role in all six rotations for the Bulldogs. Co-captain Shania Kibel returns after missing last season with injury and will play an important role in the attack.

Leadership, ultimately, will be a shared task, according to Murphy. “We have a number of returning starters from last year,” said Murphy, “and they’ve fitted in really well as a unit. I expect them all to use their qualities. leader in different situations. ”

Of those returning to the front row, juniors Trista Barnett and Lexi Gray had over 150 kills a season ago, while dynamic sophomores Kalie and Kylie Gatlin posted impressive numbers, with Kylie in the lead. team for kills and Kalie leads the game. Add to the equation senior Jessie Ayers and a pair of newcomers Ralynn Hickman and Destiny Toledo, and the Bulldogs have one of the more balanced teams in the classification.

The Bulldogs were a constant feature in the CHSAA polls in the 1A classification, but after losing in a game of the State tournament last year, Murphy’s side are keen to take the plunge. “We worked on mental toughness and communication,” added the head coach, “with the overall goal of pushing further into the playoffs.”

Playing in the spring, the Bulldogs have the opportunity to build on their success from just a few months ago. “It’s been busy, with a number of our players making it to individual camps, as well as a collective team camp at CSU,” said Murphy, “but that says a lot about the ethics. work of these girls. “

Dove Creek has started its fall 2021 well, overtaking border rivals Monticello in straight sets to open on a winning note.

The Bulldogs travel to Mancos on Tuesday August 24 before opening the home league game the following week, when Nucla heads for a game on Tuesday August 31. The Bulldogs’ schedule also includes a pair of trips to Gunnison to help prepare them for the playoffs.

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