Early in the first game of the Moffat County High School volleyball match against Glenwood, it looked almost as if the Demons were going to have to exert about as much effort to get a win as it took to for them sit upright on the bus trip to Northwest Colorado.
Then the Bulldogs decided to make their guests work a little bit.
"I saw two different teams out there tonight," Bulldog coach Becky Howlett said. "The second team I like a lot better."
The Demons jumped to a 7-0 lead in the first game behind the serving of Leana Larson and several powerful kills from Leah Hinkey.
The Bulldogs never really recovered and the defending Western Slope League champions took the first set, 25-12.
In the second set, the points didn't come as easy for the Demons. The Bulldogs got within one at 15-16, but Larson killed their momentum with five-straight points on serve.
The visitors took the game, 25-18.
"We didn't keep up the intensity after the first game," Glenwood coach Denise Greene said. "This gym is so different than ours, because it is big and quiet.
"We are used to getting loud after a point and it helps keep up the intensity."
In the third game, the Bulldogs took their first lead of the match at 2-1, but the Demons rallied to take the lead, 4-3.
The 'Dogs were within one point at 19-20 and 23-24. The Demons prevailed for the three-game sweep, 25-23.
"They made us work for it," Greene said. "We need to do a better job of focusing on every ball."
Howlett agreed that she could sleep much easier after she saw a different team in the second two games.
"I wish we could have played more, because the momentum was starting to come to us," she said.
The Bulldogs may have been able to steal the third set if they hadn't have had eight service errors.
This summer, several players started working on the jump serve. It still is a work in progress.
"We aren't a tall team, but we're a strong team," Howlett said. "So I started to work with them on the jump serve, because I think this team could take advantage of that."
The Demons were able to take advantage of their height up front.
Hinkey and Lawson combined for 22 kills. Lawson led with 14.
The Demons have one day to prepare to host Western Slope League rival Steamboat Springs on Saturday.
The Bulldogs travel to Rifle on Saturday to try to pick up their first win in the league.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.