Late rally for Moffat County volleyball shows morale in tough match in Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The numbers from 2017 aren’t exactly ones Moffat County High School volleyball would like to remember, but when it means motivation to keep improving against their greatest rivals, keeping those past games in the back of their minds isn’t a terrible idea.
MCHS girls are 0-2 after a 3-0 Thursday match against Highway 40 foes Steamboat Springs, their second match of the week to start the year.
An 11-11 record last season wasn’t one of the Sailors’ better tallies, yet that .500 outcome — compared to MCHS’s 4-18 — was still hard for the Lady Bulldogs to get out of their heads, especially at the onset.
Steamboat whipped through the first two sets, 25-11 and 25-10, for their first competition of the season.
But, just as the girls in red were building up steam, Moffat County showed its true colors in the third round, much like their fierce finale Tuesday in Hayden.
Precision passing and haymaker hits early in the set kept Steamboat flummoxed as Eliana Mack, Tiffany Hildebrandt, and Hailee Herndon stayed tough up front. A small lead at 8-5 for the blue bunch was one the Sailors were able to catch up to once they gathered their wits, yet MCHS kept it close midway with a tie at 13-13.
Steamboat went on to win at 25-16 to end the evening, though the Bulldogs’ perseverance and level of intensity didn’t go unnoticed by their coach.
“We know what they’ve got, we’ve got to cover their block, and we did that all three games,” coach Jessica Profumo said. “I think they realized their goals weren’t necessarily points-related, it was more about executing. That is what I’ve told them from day one is that if you do the things I ask you, the wins will come. They basically covered all my goals tonight. I’m a very pleased coach.”
Profumo added that Terry Gillett’s work as the Dogs’ libero was top-notch even as she had to come off the court just before match point after a collision between teammates resulted with a knee to her eye.
“You’ve gotta cover a lot of ground and communication is super important, but when you’re giving it everything like that, things like that can happen,” Profumo said.
Bailey Lawton noted that the revved-up crowd in the Steamboat gym added some intimidation, but getting past previous defeats to the Sailors was also part of it, namely a 25-4 blowout during last year’s season opener.
The game against the 4A school is one the squad always anticipates as a tough one, and Lawton said the night was far better than any of the six sets they played against Steamboat last year.
“When we play harder teams, we do as much as we can to play at their level, and I think everyone worked their hardest,” she said. “We’ve improved an insane amount with Coach Jessica. I think we’re gonna be the strongest we’ve been in a while.”
MCHS will host its first home game Tuesday against West Grand, with C-Team at 4 p.m., JV at 5 p.m. and varsity at 6 p.m.
It was one of the longest days Moffat County High School volleyball players have experienced this season, but by the end of Saturday, the effort was worth it all.