Moffat County volleyball finishes 6-16 after district tourney | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County volleyball finishes 6-16 after district tourney

Coach Starla Jensen and the members of the Moffat County High School varsity volleyball team huddle up during a timeout at home. The Lady Bulldogs recently finished their season 6-16 after going 1-3 on Friday and Saturday at the district tournament in Grand Junction, playing teams including Basalt, Coal Ridge, Aspen and Gunnison.

— The past weekend concluded the season for the Moffat County High School varsity volleyball team sooner than they might have liked, but the Lady Bulldogs kept their heads up to make their last games some of their most hard-fought.

Regional pairings were announced Monday for volleyball teams through Colorado High School Activities Association, and at No. 43 in the 3A division, MCHS did not make the cut, following a 1-3 run during the district tournament Friday and Saturday in Grand Junction amid the rest of the Western Slope League.

The fifth-seeded Bulldogs started the two-day event against Gunnison, coming out strong with a 25-19 win, only to off on the wrong foot in the second set, as Morgan Lawton was taken out with an ankle injury. The Lady Cowboys, seeded fourth in WSL, gained a 25-13 win and followed that with 25-23 and 25-18 sets to finish the round, 3-1.

"We had to make some adjustments, and I think that was really tough on them," coach Starla Jensen said.

The night only got tougher against league powerhouse Coal Ridge, which downed MCHS, 25-9, 25-13 and 25-15, in one of four victories that left the Titans the dominant team of the weekend.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs were down a starter, with senior Lauren Samuelson attending the state cross country championships in Colorado Springs. Nevertheless, the team swept Basalt (25-23, 25-17, 25-14) in the afternoon game.

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Later that evening saw Moffat County take the game further than they have the entire season. A match against Aspen featured 25-21 wins sandwiching a 25-19 loss. The Skiers were able to even up the score to 2-2 with a dogged 26-24 fourth set, which ultimately led to the Bulldogs' 3-2 undoing at 15-9.

Samuelson was able to make it to the last game, though not in time to compete, and her presence was meaningful after her volleyball teammates encouraged her to attend the state meet in another sport.

"Just the fact that she made that effort meant a lot," Jensen said. "I have a lot of respect for her for that."

With all the adjustments on the court during the weekend, the first and only time the team has been able to go to five games is proof of the level of improvement throughout the season, the coach added.

"I couldn't be more proud of the girls I worked with," she said. "The amount of personal growth that I've seen from them, along with their growing volleyball vocabulary, has been immense this season. This program I think is going to continue to get better with the work ethic and the determination some of these kids bring to the court."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.