Moffat County, Steamboat volleyball slug it out to start season
The first game of the season snuck up on them, but now that Moffat County High School volleyball has gotten past that initial hump, Lady Bulldogs are ready to make some progress.
MCHS volleyball fell in three sets Thursday to rival Steamboat Springs as the Sailors took the win at 25-10, 25-4 and 25-8.
The first competition on the schedule for either side saw Steamboat with the quick 3-0 lead as the Bulldogs took a few moments got their heads in the game, Morgan Nelson claiming the first Moffat County point of the season with a successful kill to get the ball back in their possession.
Still, the Sailors remained in control, ahead by double digits for most of the opening set and closing it with a 15-point margin as Este Wilkinson floated the ball over the net to take the win.
Bailey Lawton kept Steamboat girls guessing for the first few serves of the second set, varying between long and short efforts from the line, but once the Sailors figured it out, that was that, tying it at 4 and keeping the streak going from there.
Good numbers on service for the majority of the team were prevalent, though Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said she was most impressed with Micah Feeley’s stats, 25 for 25 at the line with eight aces.
“I was calling every zone in the book, and not only was she not missing a serve, she wasn’t missing a zone, which is really impressive,” Hall said.
Some ball control issues showed, Hall added, though she was satisfied with overall hitting, as well as the focus.
“We got in the zone and managed to stay there, which is great for so early in the season,” she said.
Though things were going tough on the Bulldog side, MCHS coach Erin Knez noted that it was the final set when players got their blocking in order.
“I think we had some fear out there in our first set, and it showed in our passes and lack of blocking,” she said. “Steamboat is extremely talented, they have a powerful line and I have to give them credit for how good they are. That being said, it took us too long to figure out we could stop some of what they were doing.”
On her part, some rushed preparation with putting together the varsity lineup also affected the first game with few intensive sessions for the top tier coming out of summer.
“We’ve had one practice as a team together, so it was fast and furious to get here tonight,” Knez said.
Josie Timmer, one of only two seniors, said the team is still learning to mesh the most experienced members and girls whose varsity playing time was limited last year.
“The more they practice with us, the more confident and relaxed they’ll be on the court, learning the positions and the rotations,” she said.
Still, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Dogs. Junior varsity stuck it out with the Sailors in closer losses of 25-11 and 25-22, while C-Team was 2-1 for the night with 25-13 and 15-9 victories sandwiching a 25-16 loss.
The Lady Dogs went on to travel to Aspen Saturday morning, a game that was much closer though still a defeat by sweep — the Skiers took a 3-0 win at 25-15, 25-19 and 25-12.
Even with the varsity defeat, the level of energy Thursday was one that Knez said she wants to see throughout the season.
“It was positive the whole night, and if we can maintain that level of excitement, we have nowhere to go but up,” she said.
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