LAFAYETTE — The Dawson volleyball team has long surpassed their 7-13 overall record of 2015 under first year head coach Carisa Janzen, and with that the Mustangs are supremely confident the program is headed the right direction.
In the final stretch of Class 2A competition prior to districts, though, the Mustangs have come up against some of the best teams the Mile High League has to offer, and on Tuesday saw a losing streak extend to three matches as visiting Denver Christian took home a 3-0 sweep at the Dawson gym.
The stretch has seen Dawson play Dayspring Christian, Union Colony Prep and now the Thunder — all who fall in the top 12 in 2A RPI as it stands. A five-setter against Union Colony on Saturday was certainly more satisfying than the 25-20, 25-11, 25-13 sweep the Mustangs suffered Tuesday, but Janzen said the team is still realizing a lot about its potential.
"It's a team that's still very much learning how to fight," Janzen said after Dawson dropped to 11-6 overall. "The close games, the games we know we need to win, we're still figuring that out but as a group.
"When we're scrapping and fighting and wanting it, they're doing a great job and we've come a long way. I think they saw glimpses on Saturday. The experience just isn't all the way there yet and we saw that tonight."
Dawson has played well against some good teams this year, with wins against Highland and Front Range Christian perhaps most noticeable. A strong showing against Heritage Christian on Wednesday and Gilpin County on Thursday would mean a lot for a team that last won more than 11 matches in 2010.
Seniors Nicole McDonald and Victoria Rackley, who along with Skylar Schutter and Sarah Leidich celebrated senior night Tuesday, recognized the mistakes the team made against the Thunder but also said they are performing at a better level now than at the beginning of the season.
And being able to play a team the likes of Denver Christian is only going to help them prepare for districts.
"Playing teams like that, it's a great chance to improve our teamwork and communication and I think although this one is a tough loss on senior night, it's been a great season so far," said Rackley, a libero. "The Union Colony match was a great example of us being able to rally as a team after the loss to Dayspring."
Tuesday's first set was pretty tight, and Dawson led Set 2 6-5 before the Thunder reeled off eight straight points with help from Brittney Anton's four service aces. Anton, Denver Christian's only senior, swung away at the net throughout the match, too.
"We just need to learn how to get other teams out of system, and we've had some good runs but we need to learn how to get ourselves out when we are sort of stuck," McDonald said.
Libby Porrey paced the Mustangs with 11 kills and Stella Bristol added five.
"We're definitely getting prepared for districts with all these tough teams we're playing," Janzen said.
Denver Christian 3, Dawson School 0
At DawsonDenver Christian (13-5, 7-3) 25 25 25
Dawson (11-6, 6-4) 20 11 13
Kills — Dawson: Libby Porrey 11, Stella Bristol 5.
Blocks — Dawson: Bristol 1, Kiki Porrey 1.
Assists — Dawson: Delaney Pratt 11, K. Porrey 9.
Aces — Dawson: K. Porrey 1, Ari Guzzi 1.
Digs — Dawson: L. Porrey 6, K. Porrey 4, Victoria Rackley 3.