By SAM GORDON
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Durango volleyball coach Amy Schlauder said her teamâs goal at this juncture of the season is to maintain its second-place standing in the Southwest League.
So far, so good.
The Trailblazers (18-16, 7-2 ) held onto their spot with a 25-11, 19-25, 25-19, 25-18 win at third-place Bonanza (16-14, 6-4 conference) on Tuesday night.
âWe knew that we needed to take this match to remain in that second-place spot,â Schaluder said. âI think we saw a lot of leadership out of our seniors. Maintaining our composure was key for us through our ups and downs.â
Durango now has a 1Â½-game lead over the Bengals with three league games to play: at home against Bishop Gorman, at Spring Valley and at home against Sierra Vista.
The Trailblazers certainly started with a lot of ups. They opened a big early lead in the first set and coasted to a 25-11 victory over Bonanza.
But the Bengals bounced back in the second set, opened a 9-2 lead and held off Durango, which closed to 15-13 but couldnât complete the rally.
The Trailblazers, however, seized control of the match in the decisive third set with a 25-19 victory. Bonanza coach Elizabeth Rice said her team wasnât mentally locked into the match at that particular point.
âWe didnât execute our game plan,â Rice said. âOur game plan was to serve tough, pick on a couple of players. That didnât happen. Defensively, we just werenât there. Offensively, we had good moments but nothing as a whole.â
With a 2-1 lead, Durango built a sizable advantage in the fourth set and fended off a late Bengalsâ comeback to complete the 3-1 victory.
Trailblazers senior Makenzi Abelman had 17 assists and 19 digs. Fellow senior Hailey Kraft had eight kills and 13 digs, and Naomi Harris added seven kills, four service aces and 14 digs.
âI think we just remained composed,â Kraft said. âWe knew we had to get the game done, so we went out and got the W â¦ Weâre excited, weâre excited for playoffs. Hopefully we can maintain second in our conference. Weâre just excited to see whatâs next.â
Taryn Warner had nine kills for Bonanza. Sydney Dunn had 23 assists and four service aces, and Chianna Rodriguez added 20 digs for the Bengals.
Schlauder was pleased with her teamâs outing and said she is trying to get her team to believe in itself as the season draws to a close.
âWe havenât been to regionals in two years,â she said. âItâs something that weâve been trying to instill in them â that we believe in them and that they need to believe in themselves.â