Moffat County sweeps Aspen in Homecoming faceoff
Craig — To say the Moffat County High School volleyball teams mopped the floor with their latest opponents might be an overstatement. However, all three levels of players still cleaned up nicely.
From the freshmen to the varsity squad, the Bulldogs swept the Aspen Skiers on Tuesday night in their first home games of the season.
After 2-0 wins by the freshmen — 25-17, 26-24 — and junior varsity — two 25-19 sets — the pressure was on for the top tier team to follow in their stead, and the varsity girls did not disappoint their fervent fans, finishing the night 3-0.
The Bulldogs were on the attack for the first two sets, both of which ended 25-17. Mattie Jo Duzik and Alexi Goodnow were among the MCHS players right at the net, ready to use a light touch when necessary or slam the ball home at every opportunity, evidenced by Duzik’s seven kills throughout the evening.
Aspen’s play tightened by the third set, not letting Moffat County get on too much of a run and catching up at multiple junctures to tie up the score, but the Bulldogs pulled away to finish the game, 25-20.
Coaches and players joined in the excitement that followed, but what was on their minds was a common thought: “We can do better.”
Coaches Starla Jensen and Erin Knez said the win comes at just the right time, not only as the first game at MCHS’s home court this season but also as a highlight in the school’s Homecoming week.
“We needed that boost,” Knez said.
Still, a number of negative elements could have left the team with a worse result.
“Our communication just wasn’t there tonight,” Jensen said. “With Homecoming, our focus is not where we want it, and up to the last set, Aspen did not give up, so they were capitalizing on our errors. But by the same token, we were capitalizing on theirs tonight.”
Players were also quick to notice that their play wasn’t at its best.
“We were just out of sync as a team, and we didn’t click tonight,” senior Lauren Samuelson said.
Tiawna Smercina, also a senior, agreed with the assessment, though she sees the victory as the start of a long run if the team keeps its skills at their peak.
“Now that we have a win underneath our belts, I feel like we’re going to use that as our powering momentum toward all of our other games,” Smercina said.
It also helps that the next five matches in a row will be in front of a home crowd, she said.
The Bulldogs are 4-8 overall, 1-1 in 3A Western Slope League play after the win against Aspen. Next up for them are matches against Grand Valley on Oct. 2 and Olathe on Oct. 4, the latter of which will be a league meet-up.
Coaches anticipate tough competition all around against the remaining opponents on their schedule.
“We’re going to have to bring our game, in sync, talking, everything,” Jensen said.