Moffat County volleyball blasts back to again beat Basalt in 5
BASALT — It’s been a bumpy road this season for both teams, but as Moffat County High School and Basalt volleyball squads squared off Saturday afternoon, 3A Western Slope League rankings had to have been on their minds. A win for the Longhorns would have meant their first victory within conference play and sharing ninth-place honors.
Unfortunately for them, Lady Bulldogs have proved more than once this fall that ties aren’t exactly their thing.
MCHS defeated Basalt in five sets for the second time this season, the third overall time the Dogs have come out on top to conclude the day 3-2.
It looked like Bulldogs had everything going for them at the start. In spite of deep digs by Basalt to keep play going, a five-point run by Moffat County closed the opening set 25-17.
Still, the visiting side found themselves taken aback in the second round as Longhorns sent back everything they could, the two teams each adding one point at a time until they were tied at 12. From there, Basalt’s Homecoming heart kicked into overdrive, forcing Moffat mistakes and making few of their own for an eight-point streak. Despite two kills by Jenna Timmer and an ace by Tiffany Hildebrandt, the Longhorns couldn’t be caught, winning 25-17.
The scoring repeated in the third — tie at 12 until Basalt slipped four past them and shortly after gained a five-point streak for the 25-16 Longhorn win.
“I think in two and three, we weren’t communicating very well and once we get down on ourselves, it throws us off for the rest of the game,” Bailey Lawton said.
Whether it was newfound MCHS determination or an abundance of Basalt fouls at the net — or a little of each — energy turned around in the fourth set, so much so that the Bulldogs stood at 23-9 to bring the match tally to 2-2. Longhorns responded with seven more points as Moffat also incurred too many foul calls, but Timmer casually tipped one over the net for the 24th point, then went straight to the service line and picked up an ace to send the game to a fifth set.
“The main thing is they know they can do it as long as they work together, stay aggressive and play their game,” coach Jessica Profumo said. “When the errors happen it’s because they’re second-guessing things and overthinking instead of just doing what they know how to do.”
Feeling back in control, Bulldogs led the full round, and despite a decisive kill by Mia Olson that concluded a five-point run by Basalt to get them into double digits, Moffat County stayed cool to finish it 15-10, ending with back-to-back hits at the net by Hildebrandt.
Hildy had five kills, Timmer eight and Olivia Profumo and Jaidyn Steele four each, part of 28 total for the day. At the line, the Dogs had 13 aces, led by Hailee Herndon with three.
Herndon said the Longhorns didn’t make it easy but also helped push MoCo girls to play more to their potential.
“Basalt had some good outside hitters and servers for sure, but I think we just came out better,” she said.
Basalt moves to 3-10 with the loss, remaining winless at 0-8 in the WSL, while MCHS improves to 5-10 and 2-6. Longhorns host Delta Monday night, while Bulldogs return home to Craig to bring in Grand Junction’s Central Warriors on Tuesday, which will serve as Pink Night starting at 4 p.m. in the Doghouse as players don pink apparel in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and honor loved ones afflicted by all types of cancer.
Senior Night will take place Oct. 15 as part of a newly added home game against Soroco.
With the win over Basalt, Bulldogs surpassed their 2017 win total and with another W they’ll have their best record since 2015.
“We’re still going to fight for every win. It’ll be a great way to end the senior season,” Lawton said.
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.