How both teams react afterward might be the best way to look at Monday's Fruita Monument-Moffat County volleyball game.
And with half a league season left to play, that's how Bulldogs coach Brianna Montgomery should approach the 3-2 comeback win against the Class 5A Wildcats, 20-25, 14-25, 25-20, 25-16, 16-14.
Not to say the victory wasn't exciting. It extended Moffat County's winning streak to seven straight matches.
But, it's the league race that counts so far as the post-season goes. A fact Montgomery is well aware of.
"This is really good," the coach said. "My girls have really come together in the last two weeks, and it's nice to have everything come together at this point in the season. This is when you want your girls to play well."
Although it took a while for the Bulldogs to come together, Fruita Monument captured the first game 25-20, and it appeared that the Wildcats found their collective stride when they pounded Moffat County 25-14 in the second game.
The Wildcats frontline of Mary McGee, Carley Westerson and Kaylee Dollerschell reeled off a 10-1 run that forced Montgomery into a time out to gain a breath of relief.
The ploy failed.
Mala Sadler ripped a point past the Bulldog wall off the break. More points came off a combination of Wildcat kills and Moffat County errors. It also put Fruita Monument in position to seal the match with a 2-0 lead, and with momentum behind them Fruita appeared to have everything pointed to having an easy night.
Kari Griffin gave the Bulldogs a 6-5 lead with a service ace. After the point, Fruita never got within two points of a mushrooming Moffat County lead the rest of the game.
The Wildcats trailed 22-15 at one point until a short rally fueled by three Moffat County errors and back-to-back winners from Dollarschell narrowed the deficit to 23-20.
"We started to get some touches on some balls on the blocking end. That started to pick our game up for us," Montgomery said. "Once we starting swinging, everything started coming together for us."
Still there was plenty of hope remaining on Fruita's bench prior to game four, after the Bulldogs earned a 25-20 win.
All the Wildcats had to do to win the match was win one game. Westerson seemed to make that a personal mission when the senior pounded home a couple of winners that started a series of ties.
Fruita took the lead three times in that run, only to have Moffat County (10-3 overall, 7-3 Western Slope League) pull back to a deadlock.
Tied at 16-16, the Bulldogs Angie Charchalis drove home a shot to start a 6-0 scoring run that Fruita couldn't respond to. That funk continued through the early portion of game five, when Moffat County reeled off a 5-1 lead before starting a comeback.
Dollarschell culminated a run that gave Fruita an 8-6 lead and forced the Bulldogs to call time. Whatever was said in that huddle was enough for Moffat to regain the lead, then survive another Wildcat rally at match point to earn the win.
Westerson and McGee scored to create a 14-14 tie to force sudden death. Griffin nailed a shot inside the far left corner to give the Bulldogs the advantage. Westerson's long return after the point gave Moffat the win.
"We had to fight back to redeem ourselves after those first two games," Montgomery said. "The girls were up to the challenge."