It was a steady decline in momentum as the Moffat County Bulldogs took on the Grand Junction Tigers in a volleyball showdown Thursday night in Craig.
The fact that the Bulldogs' top player was sidelined with a broken toe didn't help matters.
"I hate it bad," Angie Charchalis, the Bulldogs' injured player, said before the start of the night's match.
Charchalis broke her big toe Wednesday afternoon and will be sidelined for a week, if not longer.
She was optimistic that her team would do well without her in the lineup. But, nevertheless, the Tigers downed Moffat County, 22-25, 15-25 and 11-25.
The first game for the Bulldogs was their best, pushing Grand Junction to fight for every point. Shane Allerheiligen, the Tigers' coach, wasn't sure what to expect from the Bulldogs, but he said his team had trouble handling Moffat County's serves during Game 1.
"We wanted to play our game," Allerheiligen said. "To slow the tempo down and hit hard and strong."
The Tigers came out fired up and jumped out on top, 9-3. The Bulldogs would not slow down, however, and rallied back to a one-point deficit.
Not having Charchalis in the lineup hurt the Bulldogs' game.
"It definitely threw the team off," interim coach Deb Yoast said. "Not just because of her ability, but her motivation for the team."
The second game for Moffat County was a tough loss. After rallying back to get within three points, the Bulldogs fell apart and stalled out at 15, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead heading into what would be the third and final game. A bright spot in lieu of the inconsistent play was a hard-fought volley, won by Moffat County on a tip by junior Amy Dilldine.
The aggressive hitting and athletic ability of Grand Junction's team was too much for the Bulldogs to overcome. After the game, Charchalis said that it was tough to sit there and not be able to help her team.
"You can only do so much on the bench," Charchalis said. "(The Tigers) were good, they hit well."
Getting digs was one thing that the Bulldogs couldn't seem to accomplish Thursday. Although Allerheiligen said that his team didn't try to exploit any of the Bulldogs' weaknesses, the Tigers found a way to place the ball into the open areas on the court.
Game 3 for Moffat County was another disappointing loss, stalling out with 11 points on the board, the Tigers breezed through the final game to keep their record spotless.
Up next for the Bulldogs is a matchup tonight in Meeker at 6 p.m.
Melanie McDaniels can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or firstname.lastname@example.org.