Last Friday’s off-campus shooting that seriously injured a Doherty student put sports on the backburner for the weekend.
On Tuesday, Sparta continued its return to normalcy by hosting its first varsity event since then.
And although Doherty’s volleyball team fell in three sets to Dakota Ridge, the feeling of getting back on the court and playing provided therapeutic and a distraction from a whirlwind of emotions.
All varsity events, including the volleyball team's match against Bear Creek, were postponed on Friday in light of the events that happened earlier in the day across the street from the District 11 school.
“We understood that we wanted to play a game (Friday), but that’s not what was important,” said Spartan middle blocker Maddi Lemley. “It was important that everyone was safe. Definitely coming back to practice, it felt better to be around people. Coming back and having that family was nice.”
On the court, Dakota Ridge (10-2) got the best of Doherty (4-7), 25-16, 25-21 and 25-16.
The game action gave a mostly inexperienced Spartan squad valuable repetitions - ones they missed by not being able to play Friday.
That’s the bigger takeaway, regardless of the result.
“They’re getting better every single game,” second-year Doherty coach Lauren Tekavec said. “Our young players are getting a ton of experience. We didn’t do anything over the weekend, and I wanted them to calm down and get their mindset back together. Everyone has done a great job of supporting each other. It’s back to business now.”
Doherty, sporting six juniors along with a sophomore and freshman who see regular playing time, showed glimpses of a more successful future. The Spartans led midway through the first game before a seven-point run put the Eagles in control, 19-13.
In the second set, Doherty’s 20-16 lead evaporated in an instant as Dakota Ridge, armed with eight seniors, reeled off nine of the stanza’s final 10 points.
Now, the focus is learning from the experience in time for Thursday’s league opener at Fountain-Fort Carson.
At least the routine is back now.
“The kids enjoy normalcy; the kids want normalcy,” Doherty athletic director Chris Noll said. “They want to know that after school every day, they’re going to go to practice or go to a game. Throughout all of this, the kids have done a great job.
"Whether it’s dealing with the fires we had from last year to the incident on Friday, you come together and support each other and take care of those who are in need and get back to normalcy as fast as you can. We’re back into our groove and doing our thing.”