Moffat County volleyball hit hard by West Grand |

Moffat County volleyball hit hard by West Grand

Coach: Loss to Mustangs in first home game provides valuable data

Moffat County High School's Emma Samuelson, blue, leaps for the spike as teammates Morgan Nelson (12), Josie Timmer (7) and Bailey Lawton (1) back her up Tuesday during the varsity volleyball team's game with West Grand. The Lady Bulldogs fell in three sets to the Mustangs.
Andy Bockelman

Despite a crowd that was very much on their side Tuesday, Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School volleyball struggled in their first home game of the season. volleyball struggled in their first home game of the season.

Moffat County High School volleyball struggled in their first home game of the season.

The Lady Bulldogs were swept in three sets by the West Grand Mustangs, the Kremmling school taking totals of 25-20, 25-16 and 25-9.

MCHS senior Emma Samuelson started things off right with an ace that dropped in the middle of the Mustangs’ side of the floor before they realized it had left her hand. West Grand wouldn’t be so slow to react from there, though, gaining a small lead after teams were tied at 5 and keeping in front from there.

Facing off at the net were Moffat County senior Mattie Jo Duzik and West Grand junior Sydney Ritschard, both providing some fierce defense and offense alike. The Lady Bulldogs had an unusual ally on their side as well, as midway through the opening set, a vocal student cheering section launched an impromptu medley of Christmas carols.

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Jingle Bell Rock” may have surprised and amused the crowd and athletes but didn’t do much to faze the Mustangs as they went on to take the win.

Moffat County girls were ready to shake it off and start anew, but West Grand put up six points before they answered back, and the score quickly turned 6-1 to 12-6 before MCHS coach Erin Knez called a timeout to make adjustments.

The Mustangs kept at it and held onto their momentum into the third set, the final score of 25-9 their biggest difference of the night.

“I think the girls had a mindset it’d be easier than it was, which is never a good way to start a game,” Knez said. “We beat ourselves tonight.”

Knez noted Kremmling’s ability to change their angles on the floor and use it to their advantage.

“Instead of bringing the game to them, we just waited to react to whatever they brought us, so that’s what we’re going to be working on in practice this week,” she said.

Moffat County’s strength of the evening was Duzik, Samuelson, Tiffany Hildebrandt, Bailey Lawton, Morgan Nelson and Josie Timmer showing no fear in going on the attack and up for blocks, though the limited results spoke for themselves, as Duzik and Jana Camilletti each only earned one kill and the Mustangs quickly adapted to the blocking style.

Samuelson, the team’s libero, said the group is “still figuring out” their play and working on rallying when it counts.

“We just need to work on getting it back together, not getting down on ourselves around each other,” she said.

MCHS will next play Friday and Saturday at the tournament hosted by Rangely, and in Knez’s eyes, the increased court time will only be a good thing for the 0-2 varsity squad that’s still learning to mesh.

“Moments like this are never a failure, because we can’t succeed unless we know what we’re doing wrong,” she said. “We know what we’re doing wrong, and now we’ll be ready for this weekend.”

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

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