Rifle -- Despite losing the third game and falling behind Rifle High School two games to one, Moffat County volleyball coach Becky Howlett noticed a shift in her team's energy and knew that the game wasn't over.
"We came back from a big deficit in the third game to almost win," she said. "Although they lost, that was a big comeback."
The Bulldogs were down by as much as eight points, 11-19, in the third game. They rallied to get as close as 21-22 but lost 22-25. After that game, the Bulldogs rallied to win the next two games 25-23, 15-4 to come back to win their first five-game match in the Western Slope Conference.
"We thought we would put on a show for the fans that made the trip," said junior Brandie Telfer with a slight hint of sarcasm. "Actually, it took us a while to get going. When coach said 'bring it' before the fourth game it got me ready."
With the exception of the first game the team that took the early lead never relinquished it.
"Rally scoring makes it harder to come back once you get behind," Howlett said. "Our serving really improved to help us get the leads today."
In each of the games the Bulldogs won they had several long serve rallies. In the first, with senior Natalie Field behind the serve line, the Bulldogs scored 10-consecutive points to win 25-17. In the fourth game a six-point rally off of Field's serve put the Bulldogs in good enough position to win 25-23.
"We had to treat eavery point in the fourth and fifth like it was game point," Field said. "Our serving helped with that."
In the fifth game the Bulldogs jumped out to a 7-0 lead behind senior Sheena Davis' serving. The Bears were buried by the early deficit and were unable to come back.
"We've always been close to Rifle in volleyball," Telfer said. "They played us tough."'
"It was good to get the 'w.'" Field said. "We did a good job of not getting down after mistakes and had a big comeback."
The win improved the Bulldogs to 2-3 in the conference and 6-5 overall. The loss dropped the Bears to 1-5 in the conference and 2-10 overall.
The win also completed a sweep for Moffat County as the freshmen won 21-11. 25-19 and the JV won 25-17, 27-29, 16-14.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org