The Moffat County High School volleyball team hopped on the bus knowing its trip down to Battle Mountain was for one of the most important matches of the season. When they arrived six hours early, it also became one of the most anticipated of the season.
"It was already a big match for us," said senior Kate Schafer. "Before it finally started we said, 'We've waited so long for this, we better win.'"
When the Bulldogs started out, it looked like they had been lying around all day, as the Huskies took the first game, 15-5.
"They started out sluggish and weren't talking," said assistant coach Scot Brown. "But after that, they played fairly error-free."
Coming into the match, Battle Mountain was struggling with losses in its last six matches. But the Huskies had the Bulldogs' number in the previous meeting with a two-game win in Craig.
"Before the match, I told them that the seniors weren't going to go out with a loss in our last conference match," Schafer said. "It took us a little bit, but we played strong the second and third games."
Moffat County took the second game, 15-9, and out-battled Battle Mountain, 15-12, in the third game for the win.
"Kate played like a superstar in the win," Brown said. "She was flying all over the place. She was inspired."
While the Bulldogs were playing the Huskies, Rifle beat Delta to improve to 3-9 in the conference. Going into Saturday, MoCo was 3-8, so a loss would have tied them with Rifle in the conference and could have have brought them a lower district ranking. Instead, with the win, the Bulldogs improved to 4-8 and earned a seventh seed. A loss could have placed them in eighth.
"The girls knew they needed a win and they played like it was the final two games," Brown said.
"They are peaking at the right time and the cohesion of the team is strong."
Schafer said she thought the team was going into districts with positive momentum.
"We've been playing well in practice and in the last two matches," she said.
"We know we can compete, we just have to show up and do it."
The Bulldogs finished the season with a three-way sweep of Battle Mountain. After winning the first game easily, the freshmen team came back from 14-0 to win the game and match, 16-14. The final record for the freshmen team was 12-5. The junior varsity took three games to defeat the Huskies, 15-10, 13-15, 15-13. After starting 0-4, the Bulldogs rebounded to finish the season, 8-10.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org