By ELWOOD K. SHELTON
Daily Press writer
This is where the going gets tough.
It's a time in the season when every outside hitter is looking for a kill, and every middle blocker is looking to put the ball in her opponent's face, coach Vicki Haddan said.
But she also said with the momentum built up from the last three games of the regular season, her team is more than ready to make a run.
"Districts is where the play really starts to pick up," she said. "It's usually when everyone is at their best. But I feel we'll come into the tournament strong, since the girls have a real belief they can win."
The Lady Bulldogs qualified for the the district tournament in Cortez with their Tuesday night victory over the Battle Mountain Huskies.
The district tournament and the post-season road to the state playoffs are paved with more than enough obstacles for Lady Bulldogs' volleyball. The first challenge will come Friday and is likely the most difficult the match-up with the Western Slope Conference Champion Glenwood Springs Demons (9-3).
Although Friday will be the oneweek anniversary of the Lady 'Dogs upset win over the Demons, the coach doesn't fool herself into believing it will be an easy game.
"They might be looking for retribution, but one thing is for sure, it will be a battle," Haddan said. "I believe that the game could go either way, since we did split with them in the season. We know we can beat them."
The district tournament is run in pool play, which guarantees the Lady Bulldogs at least three games before they head home for the weekend. The second opponent the team faces Friday will be Palisade (13-5), and then on Saturday they will face Montrose (8-10).
The Lady Bulldogs will, of course, be concerned about playing a complete team-game with few mistakes when they get into district play, but they will also rely heavily on three seniors particularly for offense.
Seniors Amber Sanchez, Katie Telfer and Ashliegh Gregg have been the Bulldogs' scoring machines in the last three games of the regular season, combining for 65 kills.
Sanchez is the overall kill leader with a combined 34.
If all goes well at districts and the Lady 'Dogs come out as one of the top three, they will head to one of the regional tournaments, but it is not known which one.
"Really, you don't know which regional tournament you'll play in until they assign it to you," Haddan said.
Even if the girls don't qualify for the next tournament on the road to state, the players still feel they can find success at districts.
"If we go out and play hard, leave everything on the floor and come out with no regrets, I think we will have been successful," junior Lauren Bergmann said.