Moffat County volleyball coach Brianna Montgomery always knew her team had the ability to play with most teams in the state.
What she waited for most of the season was a swagger to couple with that ability.
Saturday at the district tournament in Battle Mountain, the Bulldogs gave their coach her wish, finishing 2-2 on the day and advancing to the regional tournament along with Battle Mountain. The Bulldogs were placed in Region A along with Sterling (22-1), Skyline (18-5) and Liberty (16-7). The tournament will be played in Sterling.
"The girls are very talented," Montgomery said. "I knew when I first came in that they had a lot of talent but we had a lot of work to do. I expected a lot of changes and they gave it to me. They reacted to everything I asked. I am really proud of them."
In their first game, the Bulldogs had the dubious task of opposing Battle Mountain. The Huskies came into the game with an 18-1 record on the season and a No. 2 rank in the state. Battle Mountain quickly showed why they are one of the teams expected to challenge for a state title.
The Huskies quickly dispatched of the Bulldogs 25-11, 25-9, 25-8.
With its season on the line against Mullen, Moffat County came out and played like a completely different team.
Behind strong hitting from Markie Workman, the Bulldogs won in five games, 25-21, 16-25, 25-19, 19-25, 15-7.
"They knew what was on the line," Montgomery said. "They knew it was go big or go home."
Finishing second in Pool A, the Bulldogs then played a crossover game with the champion from Pool B, a Delta team that surprised Rock Canyon and Steamboat Springs earlier in the day.
With a trip to regionals on the line, Moffat County came out and played like it was the team that wanted it the most.
In a three game sweep of the Panthers (25-14, 25-22, 25-11), the Bulldogs dominated and were in synch with great blocking and hitting.
The only time Delta came close was in Game two. At 21-14 it looked like the Bulldogs would cruise, but Delta fought back and came to 23-19. After Moffat won the next point on an error by Delta, the Panthers fended off three match points, but eventually the Bulldogs won, 25-22.
With a trip to regionals already sealed, the Bulldogs had to battle the Huskies again in the championship game. Unlike the first time the teams met earlier in the day, Moffat County battled with the more experienced Battle Mountain team and made them earn every point. Still, the Huskies dispatched of the Bulldogs in three games, 25-14, 25-16, 25-9.
Now, the Bulldogs will have to prepare for regionals in what appears to be the toughest region in Class 4A. The region features the No. 1 team in the state (Sterling) as well as two teams (Skyline and Liberty) who have at least 16 wins.
Still, Montgomery said her team is going to regionals to compete.
"The goal is to do as well as we can," Montgomery said. "I think we're going to be successful."