Bulldog volleyball wins with another late rally

There has be something about those Rifle High School volleyball players when they face Moffat County.

For the second time this year, the Bears and Bulldogs played the full billing of five games with Rifle taking an early lead and Moffat County coming back to get the win.

"We fought really hard to get this win," said Moffat County senior Sheena Davis. "Probably harder than we should have."

Coming into the match, the Bears were at 2-7 in the Western Slope Conference and the Bulldogs were 4-6. At stake for Moffat County was that a loss would knock them out of fourth place in the WSC and out of a favorable seed in the district volleyball tournaments.

"I don't know about the rest of the team," Davis said, "but I was looking ahead a bit to the Battle Mountain game and came out unfocused."

With a win, the Bulldogs still need to beat Battle Mountain Saturday. But, then again, a loss to Rifle would have taken away the importance of this weekend's match.

"Rifle came out with more heart," Bulldog coach Becky Howlett said. "The first two games they didn't earn any of their points because of our errors."

The Bears jumped out to a two game lead with wins of 25-23 and 25-21. Facing elimination, the Bulldogs rallied each other in the huddle before the third game.

"Becky (coach Howlett) wasn't' very happy with us after the second game," Davis said. "Then we got together on the court and talked about how we needed to step it up."

Whatever was said before the third game seemed to work as the Bulldogs took an early 17-9 lead and then held on to get the 25-18 win.

"My sets were tight early, which led to some hitting errors," Davis said. "Then, we all focused better and the passes to me were better, my sets were better and so were our kills."

Howlett also noticed a difference in the third game on.

"Rifle wasn't getting the tips past us like they were in the first two," she said. "We made them earn their points."

The Bulldogs tied up the match with a 25-17 win and then completed the comeback with a 15-8 victory in the fifth game.

To contrast the first two games with the final three for Moffat County, the Bulldogs had 19 hitting errors in the first two games and 15 in the final three.

"I told them we couldn't have made the platter more silver for Rifle early," Howlett said. "But they showed some fight in the end and we earned a win."

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