Bulldogs come up short at districts

COLORADO SPRINGS -- The Moffat County volleyball team struggled this season to get out of a bad streak of play once it started.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs recovered from tough starts, but it was too late in both matches.

At the Class 4A District 6 Tournament at Pine Creek High, the Bulldogs won their third games after losing the first two to Pine Creek and Montezuma Cortez and lost both matches in four games.

The Bulldogs' season ended after those losses.

"I was proud that the girls picked it up after the end of two," coach Becky Jackson said. "But they started out the matches shaky, which has been another chronicled problem this year."

After going 1-1 in pool play, the Bulldogs advanced to play No. 1 seed Montezuma Cortez.

The Panthers had just come off of playing two consecutive matches while the Bulldogs had time to rest after their second match.

In the first game, neither team looked fresh.

There was a total of four kills from both teams in the first game, but Cortez outscrapped Moffat, 25-14.

In the second game, the Panthers' Natalie Johnson showed why her team was the top seed. She had a little help from the Bulldogs, though. Johnson had four straight kills that were results of bad serve volleys from Moffat's back row.

The Panthers reeled off seven straight points during that time and took a 9-1 lead.

It was 17-9 before the Bulldogs started to play. Moffat outscored Cortez 12-7 but lost the game, 25-21.

"I don't think the gravity of the situation hit our girls until late in the second," Jackson said. "Then they started to play."

Cortez was the team to make the errors in the third game, with four service errors. The Bulldogs led throughout most of the match but trailed 23-21 before coming back to win, 25-23.

In game three Moffat was up 9-6, but the Panthers scored eight of nine points in the middle of the match to take a 22-13 lead. They won the match, 25-16, to move on to the championship against Pine Creek.

"(The frustrating part was that) we kept making the same mistakes," said setter Brittany Goss, who was one of five seniors to play her last match. "(Cortez) had one main hitter, and we knew that, but we didn't stop her."

The seniors did take some positives away from the weekend.

"We didn't give up when we were down 2-0," Mari Katherine Raftopoulos said.

"We played with heart," April Sanchez added.

The Bulldogs opened up the day with pool play against Pine Creek. They had game point in the first set at 24-23, but Pine Creek rallied to win 29-27. The two teams traded games in the second and third games. Pine Creek won the second, 25-18, and the Bulldogs won the next with the same score. The Bulldogs were no match for the Eagles in the fourth, falling at 25-12.

Moffat County rebounded to put away Skyview, 25-17, 25-13, 25-10.

Saturday showed a glimpse of next year as Jackson subbed new faces into the line up. She was proud of the players she sent off the bench.

"They stepped in during situations we needed them," she said.

The Bulldogs finished the season 10-12.

The Western Slope League advanced three teams to the regional tournaments next weekend. Battle Mountain and Palisade won their districts while Glenwood Springs finished second in its district to advance. Steamboat Springs lost in the same round as the Bulldogs to end its season.

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