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Durango roars back for 5-set win over Bishop Manogue

By the time Durango’s hitters started to find their range Thursday night, it was too late to avoid going into a 2-0 hole against Bishop Manogue.

It’s a good thing for the Trailblazers that they play best-of-five matches in girls volleyball.

Kennedi Steele had 22 kills and 18 digs, and Durango roared all the way back for a 13-25, 22-25, 25-12, 25-12, 15-12 victory in the second round of the Class 4A state tournament at Faith Lutheran.

“I think we were making a lot of errors at the beginning again, and I think we just began to focus on getting a little better as the match went on,” Durango coach Amy Schlauder said. “Bishop Manogue is a very strong team, so I think it took some time to get adjusted to a team we haven’t seen before.”

The Trailblazers (33-7) advance to meet Mountain Region champion Palo Verde in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Friday.

Tori Harper had 31 kills for Manogue (29-12), which also received 11 kills and 14 digs from Sarah Cantwell. But nearly all of the Miners’ production came from their outside hitters, while Durango showed a more balanced attack.

Jaquelyn Robinson had 14 kills and nine digs, and Bailey Olbur finished with 14 kills and seven blocks — including on back-to-back points that gave the Trailblazers their first lead of the final set at 9-8 after they trailed 7-2.

“They were pretty difficult to slow down offensively,” Schlauder said. “But I also think we were trying to do too much. We were trying to do things we don’t normally do, and once we got back into our system and realized that was working, we rode with that and did what we needed to do.”

Anahua Faitau supplied 50 assists and 13 digs for the Trailblazers and kept them in system throughout the final three sets.

The fifth set was tied twice down the stretch, the latest of which came at 11-10. Aspen Steele’s block gave Durango a match point, and Robinson finished it off with a short, angled shot from the middle that went off a diving Miner and out of play for the final point.

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