Loss makes spikers hungry

David Pressgrove

EAGLE/VAIL — Watch out next time.

The Moffat County volleyball team’s record after a 25-17, (25-20), 25-18, 25-23, loss Saturday to Battle Mountain sits at 3-4 in the Western Slope League. But after a well-played loss to the Huskies, the Bulldogs proved those four teams that beat them the first time better beware the second time around.

“I’ve never seen a team so hungry after a match,” Moffat coach Becky Jackson said. “This team was disappointed they didn’t get the win, but it was a great way to end the first half of the season. If we keep playing like we did, we’re going to catch people off guard, and that will be cool.”

The Bulldogs suffered all four league losses on the road, though Saturday’s match didn’t provide much of a hostile crowd for the visitors. The Moffat County supporters may have outnumbered the home crowd.

Before Saturday, the Huskies had lost only one game in WSL play, and the No. 8 ranked team in the state looked as if it would roll again with a 25-17 win in the first game.

In the second game, six service errors kept Battle Mountain from establishing its attack. Moffat County’s front line increased the defensive intensity with two blocks in a row to tie the score at 10 and gain the momentum.

“The girls scouted the Huskies during warm up and told me about it before the match,” Jackson said. “We made a slight adjustment defensively, and I felt we shut (Battle Mountain) down.”

With the score tied at 15 in the second game, the Bulldogs scored seven consecutive points with senior Mari Katherine Raftopoulos’ serving to go up 22-15. The Huskies came back to make it 23-20, but the Bulldogs finished them off, 25-20

The third game was close with Battle Mountain leading 18-17, and then the Huskies pulled away with seven of the next eight points for a 25-18 win.

In the first and third games, the Bulldogs were close to the Huskies through 17 points. Battle Mountain pulled away at the end of both games.

“We still had the valleys, and they were at bad times for us,” Jackson said. “Those weren’t helpful.”

The Huskies were about to pull away again for the win in the fourth game with a 22-17 lead, but the Bulldogs rallied late. The ‘Dogs made it 24-23 but couldn’t stop the final match point.

“They really wanted that last game,” Jackson said. “The good thing about that game was that the comeback left them even more wanting.”

The Bulldog defense kept them in the match. Raftopoulos had 16 blocks, and sophomore Amy Dilldine had four blocks.

“Our defense shined,” Jackson said. “What the girls are learning is the difference between unforced errors and errors that happen when they putting forth a good effort.”

The Bulldogs, 5-5 overall, have a full week with three matches. On Tuesday, they play Union, Utah; on Thursday, they play Rifle; and on Saturday, they have a much anticipated rematch against Glenwood Springs.

“If we can maintain our level for the first matches, we’ll give Glenwood a good match,” Jackson said. “The girls are anxious for the week.”

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