Mavis Edwards' offensive thunder has been muted by a recent pinched nerve in her dominant left shoulder, but the Bayfield High School junior is still able and willing to compete. Bayfield coach Terene Foutz again sent out a retooled lineup (including Edwards at libero rather than junior Lana McKee, who became a floor player in a regular rotation) Tuesday evening in hopes of finding a mix capable of not just battling Durango, but all upcoming foes.
"She's amazing anywhere on the court," said junior Tess Phelps. "And Mavis in the back row just makes us a better defensive team. She's there and that's what we need, I guess. Things happen for a reason."
Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a while for said reason to reveal itself.
With their back row bolstered, Edwards totalled a match-best 19 digs. But with their front line somewhat weakened, the Wolverines struggled to slow DHS standouts Taylor Wolf and Millie O'Ketter (6 kills, 14 digs), and to sustain their own Tymbree Florian-fueled firepower in a 9-25, 20-25, 17-25 Homecoming Week defeat.
The Demons led Game 1 wire-to-wire, starting off with a Kyle Rowland ace and ending with a Wolf kill from setter Maura Fitzpatrick. Wolf (6 kills, 3 aces, 4 total blocks) also enjoyed a lengthy eight-point stay on serve, helping DHS expand their lead to as great as 19-4 before she finally netted an attempt.
BHS' true resolve finally showed in Game 2, and the home team went up 15-14 via a confident block by Florian and sophomore Melissa Roberts. Florian then followed with a vicious kill, and Durango's Colleen Vogt alertly called timeout, sensing the building momentum.
Foutz did likewise, trailing 21-18 after Florian sent a cross-court smash wide, but the visitors went up 2-0 in the non-league match when Wolf stuffed down a Florian over-pass.
The Demons (3-6, 1-2 4A/5A Southwestern) then took an 11-6 lead in Game 3 and widened it to 18-11 behind strong Rowland (who totaled five aces) serving and a clever O'Ketter push shot that dropped at the intersection of the attack line and sideline. Though Bayfield (3-8, 2-2 3A Intermountain) managed to effectively go point-for-point the rest of the way, that was just fine by the ladies in red.
"I feel like we put up a good fight, I really do," said Phelps. "We were on, but we just need to support each other all the time. Right now, we're really trying to find our team and coming together as a team. And I think all that we need is just to be there together 'in the moment.'"
"We're here to improve and that's what we're doing," she continued. "Next time, we need to be a step ahead in Durango (on Oct. 23)."
Up next, the Wolverines will resume IML play Saturday, Sept. 29, in La Jara at Centauri (6-5, 2-2).
"I love playing Centauri; they are a huge competition to me," Phelps said. "It's fun to play against them because they are a great team - we've played them once this year, up at Lewis-Palmer (CHS won 25-22, 25-16) - and we can take them. I think we have every chance to take them, and we are definitely going to be showing up."