GUNNISON – The first week of October brought two hard-earned wins for the Lady Bulldogs, making their record 17-2 overall for the season and securing their spot as region champions.
On Tuesday October 5, the Lady Bulldogs traveled to Duchesne. The first set, like all of the ones played, was close, but the Lady Eagles edged out the Lady Bulldogs 25-23. The Lady Bulldogs came back in the second set and won 25-20. However, a tense third set that went into overtime went to Duchesne, who won 26-24.
Gunnison doubled down in the fourth set in an effort to take the match to five sets, and won 25-22. The fifth set was close, and the Lady Bulldogs pulled out all the stops.
Senior Hadlee McDonald stepped up and helped close the fifth set 15-10. She had a season high of 14 kills. Kennedi Knudsen led the team in hitting percentage with .281. Raven Pickett led the team in aces with 2, and also served without any errors. Kate Henrie led the team in blocks with 6. Pickett led the team in digs in addition to aces, with 26. “Bob” Burrell, the senior setter, had 50 assists for the match.
The following Thursday, October 7, the Lady Bulldogs took on the defending state champions, North Summit, at home. North Summit battled against Gunnison through five nail-biting sets: in the first, Gunnison came out sluggish and fell to North Summit 25-14. However, they came back in the second set and won 25-19. The third set went to Gunnison as well, 25-22. North Summit then came back strong in the fourth set, beating out Gunnison 25-18.
With the tension nearly at breaking point, the student crowd was louder and rowdier than they’ve been all season, enthusiastically cheering the Lady Bulldogs on to victory in the fifth set, who clinched region with their 15-13 win.
Senior Kennedi Knudsen had a season high of 38 kills and was a clutch player during tough plays. “Bob” Burrell and Hadlee McDonald led the team in aces with 2 apiece. Knudsen, Pickett, and Chelsi Helms also served lights-out during this set and had 100% accuracy. Henrie led the team in blocks with 4. Burrell also led the team in digs for this match with 27.
Knudsen leads the state of Utah with 470 kills for the season so far. Pickett leads the region in digs with 286; she is also ranked third in region for aces with 37. Burrell is ranked second in state with 610 assists.
The Lady Bulldogs’ senior night will be Thursday, October 14.