Craig Hosting its home tournament in the last set of games before league play begins in earnest, Moffat County had a difficult weekend of play.
The Bulldogs played four games Friday and Saturday at Moffat County High School, losing all four in two sets. It was a frustrating couple of days for coach Starla Jensen and the players as the team couldn’t generate enough consistency to pick up a win.
“They were all tough games,” Jensen said. “Not tough because it was tight the entire way and back and forth, but tough in that we just lost. The team I saw Thursday in Rifle was not the team I saw Friday.”
The Bulldogs lost in three sets at Rifle on Thursday, but each of them was decided by just a couple of points. On Friday night, Moffat County lost to Aspen in two sets, a team it had beaten in two a week ago.
“It was incredibly frustrating, but it’s like I told the girls, we have to focus on the things we did well,” Jensen said.
Aside from Aspen, Basalt, Olathe, Cedaredge and Steamboat Springs also were at the tournament. The Sailors fared better than Moffat County in Craig, posting a 3-1 record.
Head coach Wendy Hall was pleased with wins over Basalt, Cedaredge and Moffat but would have liked to see her team deliver in a two-set loss to Olathe.
“It was a little bit of a mixed bag,” Hall said about Steamboat’s play in the tournament. “The more we play with each other, the more we’re going to trust each other. I felt like we had a good opportunity to compete against a good team (Saturday) in Olathe, and I didn’t think we did that.”
The Sailors have a mix of experience and talented young players they are attempting to bring along. Hall has seen her team play extremely well but also has seen them lose focus in a game.
“It was our mental efforts more so (against Olathe),” Hall said. “They were still playing hard and hustling. We just didn’t play smart. I have sophomores on the floor who I’m still trying to get used to playing at that speed.”
For Moffat County, focus is also important. The Bulldogs have fallen behind at various stages of their games and not responded the way Jensen would hope.
“When a couple things go wrong, it seems like we start to implode,” she said. “Then we get a hole dug and can’t get out of it.”
For both teams, Western Slope League play picks up from here on, and the games become more important for teams hoping to make the playoffs. The loss to Olathe aside, Hall likes her team’s progress.
“For the most part, I’m happy where we’re at,” she said. “Our potential has exceeded my expectations. But potential is just that, so we’ve got to keep working.”
For the Bulldogs, Jensen is still trying to find out more about the team.
“We’ve been so up and down, I can’t find consistency anywhere, and that’s tough to put the right people in the right places,” she said. “I think that’s the ‘it’ I’m looking for.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org