Moffat County volleyball falters in comeback against Coal Ridge
New Castle — The first set went as planned for Coal Ridge High School’s volleyball team against Moffat County High School on Thursday night. The Bulldogs made sure the rest of the match didn’t turn out that way.
Britni Allen and Keitlyn Detlefsen each finished with a match-high nine kills for the Titans, who held off a scrappy Bulldogs team for a 25-7, 25-15, 25-22 Class 3A non-league victory at the Coal Ridge High gym.
“We’ve played a lot of hard teams this year,” Detlefsen, a Coal Ridge junior, said. “That’s not to say that Moffat County isn’t a good team, because they are. But all of the 4A and 5A teams that we’ve played so far has helped us a lot.”
Indeed, that experience at the beginning of the season made a difference Thursday for the Titans (6-5 overall) who have won three consecutive matches. That includes a come-from-behind, five-set victory over Class 4A Eagle Valley on Tuesday, one of the seven teams Coal Ridge has played that reside in a higher classification.
It was the Bulldogs (3-8, 0-1 3A WSL), however, who were mounting a comeback in the Titans’ home gym. They rebounded from a drubbing in the first set to put together substantial runs in the second and third sets and put the Titans in a pressure situation.
All the experience from those previous opponents, however, helped Coal Ridge pull away.
Kaitlyn Harlow and Bailey Davis each added six kills, Nicole Mooney chipped in five kills and senior setter Maggie Bell helped with that distribution, tallying 22 assists.
Mattie Jo Duzik finished with three kills and three stuff-blocks to go with a three-kill, three-ace, three-block performance from Morgan Lawton for the Bulldogs, who trailed by as much as 12-1 in the first set and never recovered. Moffat County rallied in the second, though, as a pair of aces from Lawton were part of a 7-0 run that gave the Bulldogs an 8-4 lead.
Moffat County took a 14-11 lead on a stuff-block from Lawton, but errors by the Bulldogs and strong play up front for Coal Ridge each played a part in the 14-1 run the Titans used to close out the set.
In the third set, the Bulldogs again held tough and used a 5-1 run down the stretch to pull within 23-22 on kills from Lawton and Britney Rothermund. Harlow, however, floored a bump over the net by Alex Samuelson to put the Titans at match point, and a stuff block from Mooney on the next point sealed it.
MCHS Coach Starla Jensen said the level of play was as strong as she could have hoped as the Bulldogs move toward league play Tuesday, hosting Aspen in their first home game.
“Everything is starting to come around, and I know if these girls continue to work, it’s going to come full circle for them,” she said. “They’ll be rewarded for their efforts. They’re so close.”