A poor practice before the regional tournament doesn't worry Moffat County High School volleyball coach Becky Howlett. Actually, it has become something she's used to.
"I've noticed that we don't practice well the day before a match," she said. "It's quiet and they react a little slow."
If that's the case, then the Bulldogs are set for a good weekend.
"We didn't practice well today," junior Brandie Telfer said. "But usually we practice bad before we play good."
Howlett noticed the poor practice Thursday but there were no rally calls or lectures because, "I didn't want to break tradition."
The Bulldogs left today to test out their poor-practice theory in Arvada where they will play three matches Saturday in the regional tournament.
After two teams made it out of the eight districts, each team was assigned a seed and a regional tournament.
The Bulldogs' draw includes fourth-seeded Ralston Valley, fifth-seeded Montezuma-Cortez and 12th-seeded Berthoud. The 13th-seeded Bulldogs' first match will be against Ralston Valley at 9:15 a.m. The Mustangs come in with a 24-0 record and have only lost four games all season. Following the Ralston Valley match, the Bulldogs match up against fifth-seeded 22-1 Montezuma-Cortez. Finally, the Bulldogs will face 15-9 Berthoud, which defeated Steamboat Springs, 3-1, in its district. The top two teams move on to the state tournament in Denver.
With the 13th seed and a 14-9 record, Moffat County knows its goal of state won't be easy.
"We have to do everything right," Telfer said. "These teams are a lot better than the ones we played last week."
The Bulldogs went into the district tournament last week as the third seed and came three points away from winning it all.
"Last week, they played to the level that was presented to them," Howlett said. "This week, the level of play from the other teams will be more intense."
While they know their opponents have had successful seasons, the girls know little about the other teams.
"Thomas Jefferson (the district tournament's top seed) was supposed to be pretty tough looking at their record," senior Sheena Davis said. "But we beat them."
"We're just as confident going into the regional as the district," Telfer said.
Why not be confident? They are the first Moffat County team to play in the regional tournament since 1988.
"It kinda hit us in math today," Telfer said, who has a math class with Davis. "We're in the top 16 in the state."
Howlett said she also has heard her team talking about what they've achieved.
"Natalie (Field) said today how cool that it was that they were playing in November," she said. "It is something that none of these girls have done so it is pretty cool."
Now the Bulldogs are three wins away from making the season even cooler.
"We still have people telling us we're going to lose," Telfer said.
"The only way that will stop is if we go to state."
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.