Moffat County volleyball makes a stand in Homecoming match with Olathe
It may have been the Homecoming fervor or just the energy that comes with the hope of a come-from-behind victory, but the Moffat County High School gym was louder Friday night than it has been in weeks.
MCHS volleyball’s Homecoming match against Olathe may not have been an overall win, yet the four-set event was explosive on its own terms as Lady Bulldogs stopped their streak of sweeps against them.
With the opening two sets both resulting in 25-19 wins for the Pirates, Moffat County girls were staring down the possibility of their sixth straight 3-0 defeat — including home losses to Gunnison Saturday and Roaring Fork Thursday — and it wasn’t a position they or their coaches wanted to experience.
“I’m not sure why they have a lack of confidence sometimes because clearly they can play well and get on fire,” coach Jessica Profumo said. “Believing they can do it is sometimes difficult to do.”
Olathe’s earlier rounds had the Pirates keeping a good cushion to hold the lead, but the third set was a change in rhythm with Lady Dogs forcing more and more Pirate mistakes, keeping one or two points behind until they finally overtook them at the the 13-point mark and embarked on a six-point run to lead 19-13.
The shift was short-lived and went right back to Olathe to tie it at 20, leading to increasingly hard-fought volleys until the Pirates were back in front at 24-23, and the match point serve by Esmeralda Padilla went into the net to give the Lady Dogs a reprieve.
A kill by Jenna Timmer got Moffat County to 25, while Jaidyn Steele wisely let a shot to the outside bounce out of bounds to end it 26-24 for MoCo’s first set victory since Sept. 4.
The fourth set remained close with Bulldogs trailing just a wee bit most of the way until they caught up at 22 with a kill by Steele and an ace by Timmer to take a momentary lead at 23-22, but as soon as Olathe was serving again, they avoided the choke that lost it for them before and went on to win 25-23.
“They put on a very entertaining match for everyone tonight,” Jessica Profumo said. “They hustled, they put their hearts into it.”
Moffat County stats for the night were a huge jump compared to the past week. Lady Bulldogs had nine blocks, six of which were by Timmer, who also tied with Steele for the most kills with seven apiece, part of 25 across the four sets, with three for Tiffany Hildebrandt and two for Bailey Lawton.
“I was very happy to see them back as a dominant force at the net,” Jessica Profumo said.
Olivia Profumo’s six successful spikes were coupled with the MCHS student section taunting the Pirates with the chant, “She’s a freshman!” which was music to the ninth-grader’s ears.
“That was one of the best games we’ve played together this season,” she said. “So much fun tonight.”
Along with the team’s eight aces, setter Ebawnee Smercina added 23 assists on the night, while a coaching decision to work in libero Terry Gillett for more of a utility function meant Kenzie Rehor was donning the black jersey and stayed steady with 13 digs as the Bulldog who was routinely first to the ball.
Bringing back the communication that was lacking at the onset was key, Rehor said.
“We played so well as a team tonight, and we all got our stuff together even with the loss,” she said. “Working together is how we’re going to win.”
Now 4-10, MCHS girls will host their final home game Oct. 9 against Grand Junction’s Central Warriors, which will serve as the program’s pink game.
Lady Dogs travel to Basalt Oct. 6 for a grudge match against the Longhorns, whom they beat at home in five sets earlier in September.
“If we play Basalt like we did tonight, I really think we can win,” Olivia said.
Lindsey Marlow grew up on the West Coast, but she’s no saltwater snob. That’s a good thing, because this month she started as program manager for Friends of the Yampa, becoming the organization’s first full-time staff member.