Moffat County volleyball in it for the long haul against Longhorns
Old chewing gum commercials notwithstanding, double the pleasure doesn’t always carry over into sports, though Moffat County High School volleyball coach Erin Knez will take a day at home that’s twice as long over excessive bus time.
A doubleheader for the Lady Bulldogs amounted to nearly eight hours in the Dog House against visiting Basalt.
Moffat County fell to the Longhorns in both varsity matches, each of which went to four games, but the dual 3-1 efforts were very different broken down from Knez’s vantage point.
“Doubleheaders are tough, but we still didn’t come out with any fire in the first game, didn’t move our feet, didn’t hustle, didn’t talk,” she said.
The Lady ‘Dogs were bested quickly in the first half of Game 1, as Basalt took set wins of 25-13 and 25-16 and were eyeing a sweep. But Moffat County pushed back, as the ‘Dogs pulled away from a tie at 19 and cruised along to take the third set 25-20.
However, before you could say, “third time’s the charm,” the Longhorns leapt out to an 11-1 lead in the fourth and, in no time, finished it 25-9.
When the two teams were on the court again several hours later, a revitalized Bulldog squad kept it close throughout the opening set. The were head by as much as four at 16-12, and behind by no more than six at 18-24, but eventually fell at 25-22.
It was the second set of the second match that electrified the home crowd, as Moffat County girls battled back from a 7-1 deficit, and Tiffany Hildebrandt, Hailee Herndon, Jana Camilletti and Bailey Lawton sent down one kill after another to keep the momentum on their side as they fought and clawed their way to a 27-25 win.
But, the magic was short-lived — Basalt closed out the day with wins of 25-13 and 25-7.
“Second game, we played so much better, some great rallies, but we chose to make some silly mistakes, and by the end of it, they got down and chose to basically give up,” Knez said.
It was a far cry from earlier in the week, when Moffat County swept Roaring Fork in sets of 25-9, 25-16 and 25-22, which Knez said was their best game yet. She added her girls were clearly worn out Saturday, which affected their accuracy more than anything in the final minutes, as nearly every Bulldog bump, spike and serve that went over the net soared past the Longhorn line untouched.
“We were getting behind the ball instead of on top of it, so that’s one of the basics we’ll be working on,” Knez said. “They’re strong girls, but you’ve got to have controlled strength.”
The long day for varsity saw better results for the younger MCHS teams squads, as C-Team split its two games, beginning with a 2-0 loss — 25-17 and 25-23 — leading to a 2-1 win, consisting of a 26-24 win, 25-23 loss and 15-11 tiebreaker.
Junior varsity ended the day 2-0 — 2-1 in the first match, with wins of 25-18 and 15-9, surrounding a loss of 25-15, followed by Game 2 wins of 25-22 and 25-14.
Also of note, said JV coach Kacey Daugherty, was that Jenna Timmer, Stephenie Swindler and Darbi Zimmerman suited up for varsity, playing as many as a dozen sets throughout the day.
“It’s a lot for them to do, but they played really hard, played their hearts out,” Daugherty said.
Though there may have been some grumbling about the doubleheader format, Knez said she saw more pros than cons.
“It’s a good mental challenge, and they have one day less travel, so I like it,” she said.
MCHS teams next play Rifle starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday.