It took the Moffat County High School varsity volleyball team a game to warm up Thursday against the Rifle Bears in Craig, but after that the Bulldogs were on fire and picked up a big conference victory.
MCHS dropped the first game, 4-15, but won the next two, 15-3 and 15-5, to move to 3-2 in league play. The Bulldogs are 6-7 overall.
"We did start off real slow, but once we got warmed our kids were awesome," said coach Vicki Haddan. "They started to serve and receive the ball a lot better and that really made a difference in our game. Once the defense started to click the rest of our game started to come. We only missed two serves tonight and that makes a big difference."
MCHS finished the match with a balanced attack as Sarah Haslem, Liz Knights and Amber Sanchez all finished with seven kills. Camie Hillewaert added six and Ashleigh Gregg ended with two. Setter Emily Mortensen finished with 18 assists.
"I am really pleased with the win. We all worked together and we played really well," said Hillewaert. "If we can get our passes down then everything clicks and it did tonight. The win was really big for us because it puts us up a lot higher in the conference standings."
In game one, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 1-0 lead, but Rifle scored five straight points to take the advantage, 5-1. The Bears continued to pour things on as they cruised to the 11-point win.
Game two was a different story. Behind the strong serving of Mortensen, the Bulldogs built a 4-0 lead.
MCHS continued to score at will as Haslem had back-to-back kills to make the score 9-3 and eventually put the game out of reach.
In the final game the Bulldogs didn't let up as they jumped in front, 4-1. MCHS kept the ball rolling and the Bulldogs clinched the win going away.
"It's a huge win for us, because Rifle has swept everybody else they have played except for Steamboat Springs," said Haddan. "You really need to win those home games and so when you do go down there the kids will have the confidence that they can win on the road as well."
In the junior varsity game, the Bulldogs won in three games, 14-16, 15-9 and 15-10. In the freshmen game Rifle came up on top, 15-4 and 15-12.
The Bulldogs will have a full week to rest before the varsity team is in action on the road at 6 p.m. Thursday against Meeker in a non-conference match. The freshmen will start the day at 4 p.m. followed by the junior varsity game at 5 p.m.