New and improved

Bulldog volleyball to unveil new look Friday night

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There will be the same familiar faces gracing the volleyball court Friday night, when Moffat County takes on Delta at 5 p.m., but the Bulldog volleyball team will show off a new game.

"We're going to try some new rotations," head coach Brianna Montgomery said. "That could be a little bumpy."

Just a few days into her new position, Montgomery was busy switching things up and breaking things down at Tuesday's practice, hoping to enlighten her team.

The Bulldogs, who are 2-5 overall and 1-1 in Western Slope League play, will face the Delta Panthers on Friday, a team that was 5-10 last year, but is being headed up by another new face to Western Slope volleyball -- Leigh McLaughlin.

Delta, who is led by four seniors -- Caitlin Crawford, Brooke Hawkins, Bridgette Stramel and Kim Kranendonk -- will have much of their spark provided by the upperclassmen.

Montgomery thinks that the Bulldogs will stay competitive even with the changes.

"They're going to feel that they're staying in the game better," Montgomery said. "I have high expectations for them."

The team is excited to be trying different things. Junior Markie Workman said that because of the way Montgomery breaks things down, it helps everyone improve.

The game against Delta will help the Bulldogs transition before taking on a solid Palisade team, which is 5-2 overall, and has lost to only the top rated teams in the state -- Sterling (No.1) and Battle Mountain (No. 2). The Bulldogs square off against Palisade at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Palisade head coach Steve Hellmann said that for his team to compete with Moffat County, it has to match the intensity that the Bulldogs bring to the floor.

"They're really scrappy," Hellmann said about Moffat County. "And they play extremely tough at home."

Palisade plays in between quick-hitting offense and patient defense. Hellmann admits that there are areas where his team needs to improve and thinks that if players make the right adjustments, they can stay competitive.

The leadership of his seniors is something that Hellmann says can keep his team in check.

"They keep us in line and on track," Hellmann said.

Workman knows Palisade plays a tough game and said that the team will have a good challenge in front of it Saturday.

Montgomery is not too worried about the win-loss column, because what she wants is to see her team focus and play good volleyball.

The new style of play will take some getting used to for the team, but it could be the last piece of the puzzle to get the Bulldogs over .500.

Assistant coach Deb Yoast said retraining old habits will be the most difficult part of the transition.

Both matches will be played at Moffat County High School, 900 Finley Lane. Friday's begins at 5 p.m., and Saturday's is at 4 p.m.

Melanie McDaniels can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or mmcdaniels@craigdailypress.com.

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