Not close enough

Bulldog volleyball falls short of state tournament after losses against Sterling, Skyline

For a season that began in turmoil, the girls of the Bulldog volleyball team didn't let it affect them much.

The Bulldogs made a tough appearance at the regional tournament in Sterling on Saturday, but fell just short of making it to the state tournament.

"No one played bad," coach Brianna Montgomery said. "There just wasn't a whole lot of momentum."

The Bulldogs fell to Sterling and Skyline in three games each, 25-11, 25-16, 25-4 and 25-23, 25-15, 25-17.

Match 1

The Sterling Tigers were highly touted and had a No. 1 ranking to back it up. Montgomery said the team relied on two big hitters and that Battle Mountain was more balanced.

"We came out big the first game and played with them," Montgomery said. "But then we dug ourselves in a hole."

The Tigers methodically began to pick and choose where to put the ball against the Bulldogs and shut them down in the first game.

The second game was better Montgomery said, but not great.

"We hung with them for awhile. But then we gave them six points off our errors," Montgomery said. "After that in the third game we just lost our momentum."

The Bulldogs struggled to record a point during the third game, and were only able to muster four.

"It was not a good indication on what we are capable of," Montgomery said about the third game.

During the Sterling match, the Bulldogs recorded seven kills, and five blocks.

Match 2

Skyline was next on the hit list for the Bulldogs. Playing back-to-back games was tough, but Montgomery said what wore the Bulldogs down was the traveling.

The Bulldogs came out during the second match fired up and ready, but Skyline had a different idea of where it wanted things to go.

Hanging on tight the first game of the match, the Bulldogs pushed Skyline to step up its play, and Montgomery said the Bulldogs were tied with Skyline and led at one point, 23-22.

"The girls played aggressive," Montgomery said. "They just couldn't finish."

Game 2 was similar, but the Bulldogs just couldn't hold it together and establish a rhythm.

"All weekend, my blockers were there," Montgomery said. "But we didn't put things together."

Game 3 for Moffat County was much closer, but again weak finishes dismantled the team.

"We couldn't get the momentum back," Montgomery said.

The Bulldogs' second match was better statistically speaking with Moffat County recording 26 kills and five blocks.

Match 3

The one thing the Bulldogs can be excited about is they pulled out a win on the weekend, which gave them a 12th place finish in the state overall, because only the top eight teams go on to the state tournament.

"The girls knew that winning would put us 12th in the state," Montgomery said.

It took five games, but the underrated and overlooked Bulldog team sent the Lancers packing with a 0-3 appearance at the tournament.

"They like being overlooked," Montgomery said about her team.

The Bulldogs came out hard during the first game and snatched a 25-19 victory. But the Lancers bounced back in games two and three, winning 25-21 each time.

Knowing that they could go home 0-3 in tournament play if they didn't win the next two games, Montgomery said the girls refused to give up.

"We played really even with them," Montgomery said. "There were a lot of long rallies."

The benefit of the pace, gave Moffat County the upper hand in game four and the 25-22 victory, to push the match to five games.

"We came out aggressive and had good kills," Montgomery said.

During the fifth game, Montgomery was pleased with the way her team responded. Coming out poised and in control, the Bulldogs put Liberty away 15-13.

"We had control the whole time," Montgomery said. "There were very few errors."

The match with Liberty saw Moffat County record 41 kills, and 11 blocks.

Overall

Considering the up-and-down season the Bulldogs had, and the 9-14 regular season record, making the regional tournament was far-fetched to many. But with a renewed sense of confidence after Montgomery took the helm of the volleyball program, the Bulldogs bounced back in a way that some thought impossible.

"Win or lose, the girls came out hard," Montgomery said. "Our record didn't say much for what we were capable of."

Montgomery said everyone played well, but one player stood out.

"Angie (Charchalis) had the best overall weekend," Montgomery said. "She led us in kills and she always does her job."

An encouraging sign for Montgomery was also the leadership that came out this weekend.

"Markie (Workman) and Angie stepped up," Montgomery said. "Both girls did a good job of leading us this weekend."

Montgomery was quick to point out that she was happy with everyone, and that she thought all her players did a fantastic job of coming out positive and staying that way through the entire weekend.

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