Rifle A Moffat County High School team on a nine-game win streaked entered Thursday's match with Rifle High School full of confidence.
The Bears, winless on the season, were looking to upset the Bulldogs and play spoiler come playoff time.
Rifle's plan almost worked, but MCHS fought through a five-game match, pulling out a 21-25, 25-14, 23-25, 25-13, 15-10 victory.
"Tonight was an off night," coach Brianna Montgomery said. "I'm pleased any time we get a win, though."
Rifle captured the first game, 25-21, catching Moffat county off guard with its aggressive quick sets for hits.
"It was a great game," Bears coach Geneva Farr said. "The girls left their hearts out there on the floor tonight."
The Bulldogs (13-3, 9-2 Western Slope League) struck back behind the play of Amy Dilldine, Kari Griffin, Markie Workman and Angie Charchalis. The rotating front line tallied 54 kills.
"We needed to step it up after that first game." Dilldine said, "We needed to come back and do our job."
The Bulldogs went to work and captured the second game, 25-13.
The Bears never gave up, clawing their way through seven third-game tiebreakers, and squeaked out a 25-23 win, taking a two-games-to-one advantage.
"I almost cried," Bears senior Kori Kosht said. "When we went up two to one, I thought we were going to win."
The Bulldogs had different ideas.
Workman started to dominate at the net, blocking any ball near her side of the court. The senior finished with 15 blocks. Charchalis and Griffin pitched in with another 10 each.
Moffat County pulled away, winning, 25-13, 15-10, to clinch the overall win.
"I knew if we stayed positive, we could pull it out," Montgomery said. 'We never thought we would lose."
Meghan Innes led the squad with 30 assists.
"I think we overlooked them," Innes said. "We thought it would be easy. It wasn't."
Rifle (0-11, 0-16 WSL) showed they were up to the challenge, winning two games in a match for the first time this season.
"We are looking to improve each game of the season," Farr said. "This was a fabulous effort for us. In my eyes, we won."
Montgommery said she would warn her team away from looking too far ahead in the schedule.
"Rifle was geared up to play us," she said. "With a 10-game win streak, we have to watch out. Everybody will be aiming at us."