With nine players on varsity but only six on the court at one time, Moffat County High School volleyball coach Becky Howlett tries to get all nine in every match. Against Battle Mountain, the three who didn't start, seniors Ashlee Hafey and Lauren Stover and junior Miranda Camilletti, had their chance to shine, and they did.
"The girls are all pretty equal," Howlett said. "Those three hadn't played much the last couple of games and I wanted to get them in."
After the Bulldogs won the first game 25-23 with seniors Natalie Field, Brittany Hutton, Stephanie Kloos and Sheena Davis, junior Brandie Telfer and sophomore April Sanchez Hafey, Stover and Camilletti joined Hutton, Kloos and Telfer on the court. Those six never trailed and won the game 25-20.
The same six stayed in for the third game and were again victorious, 25-22.
"Today helped us get our confidence back," Stover said. "We stayed up and didn't let anything get us down today."
The Bulldogs took the Huskies in three games just two days after taking five games to beat Rifle. The Bears are winless in the Western Slope Conference, yet were harder for Moffat County to defeat.
"We meshed well today," Howlett said. "It wasn't about Battle Mountain having a bad day because they played well. We were just on today."
The win improved the Bulldogs to 3-3 in the conference and, if the trend continues, they could finish the regular season with a winning record.
"We should shoot for a winning record in the league," Stover said.
"We're confident that we can win in the league," Hafey added.
Howlett went further than being content with finishing .500 in the conference.
"I think we can win out," she said. "Glenwood and Steamboat are good but they are beatable."
The first test for that prediction starts today when the Bulldogs match up with the Sailors in Craig.
"I challenged them before the match (against Battle Mountain) that it was their house and they needed to step it up," Howlett said. "We didn't play well here against Glenwood and they turned it around against Battle Mountain. I think they'll be ready again for Steamboat."
To prepare for the Sailors, Moffat County focused on blocking in practice.
"The hits that were getting through against Battle Mountain were because our blocks weren't getting closed up," Howlett said. "Steamboat has power up front and if we can shut down their blocks that's all they've got."
The match starts today at 6:30 p.m. with Steamboat at 8-4 overall and 5-1 in the conference against the 7-5, 3-3 Bulldogs.