Signs for optimism, despite disappointing finish

Alamosa senior Emily DePriest (14) takes on two Lutheran Lions during Saturday’s semifinal match at the Volleyball State Championship tournament in the Denver Coliseum.

DENVER — A trip to the semifinals of the state tournament for Alamosa volleyball ended on Saturday with the Moose falling to Lutheran 3-0.

A season ago, Alamosa made it to the state tournament as the No. 2 seed, they would go 2-2 in tournament play. Alamosa’s only losses of the weekend happened against the two teams that would go on to play for the state title, Lutheran and Colorado Springs Christian, Lutheran winning the title in the 3A class by a 3-1 score.

This year, a similar storyline played out. The Moose’s only losses once again would come to the two teams that wound up playing for the state title, Lutheran and Sterling. The tournament played out similarly to last year’s. A win on opening night, a loss in a quarterfinal matchup and a victory in the elimination bracket to advance to the elimination quarterfinals. This year, Alamosa’s season would not end in the elimination quarterfinals.

The Moose maintained control for 3 of 4 sets to eliminate Lamar on Saturday morning to earn a meeting with the top-ranked team in the state, Lutheran. The previously undefeated Lions played like the top team in the state.

The Moose offense was kept in check, staying under 20 points in each of the first two sets falling 25-15 and 25-16. With their back against the wall Alamosa pushed back in the third set, the Moose fostered a 10-6 lead early in the final set. Lutheran would call a timeout and reorganize. Lutheran would close the distance tying the game at 14 apiece before the Moose used a timeout to slow the Lions down. Unfortunately, the Lions were too much for Alamosa. Lutheran would post a 5-point rally to take their first lead of the game. A late four-point run would bring Alamosa closer, still trailing by a 21-20 deficit. But Lutheran would streak their way to the finish with four more to seal the match with a 25-20 win in set three, sending Lutheran on to the State Championship match. In the state title game, Sterling defeated Lutheran 3-1.

Compared to last year the Moose have gotten a game closer to their ultimate goal and the team has gotten a chance to see and play state championship teams. What that invaluable experience will do for their future remains to be seen. A trip to the state final is no small accomplishment and the girls for Sangre de Cristo, Del Norte and Alamosa have plenty to be proud of.  Look for all three schools in the winter athletic season as they carry plenty of talent over to the basketball courts.

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