Moffat County volleyball splits final games with Grand Valley, Basalt |

Moffat County volleyball splits final games with Grand Valley, Basalt

Bulldogs seeded 5th in weekend league tourney

Moffat County High School's Charli Earle (No. 10) is backed up by Alexi Goodnow (No. 15) as she sets up teammate Morgan Lawton (No. 11) to move in on the attack during the Oct. 11 MCHS varsity volleyball game against Gunnison. The Lady Bulldogs will meet up with the Lady Cowboys again Friday in the first round of the 3A Western Slope League tournament in Grand Junction.

— The members of the Moffat County High School varsity volleyball team are in a better position than they expected to be for the conclusion of their time on the court this year.

MCHS added to both the win and loss columns in its last matches of the regular season, losing, 3-0, on Saturday to Grand Valley and winning, 3-0, on Monday against Basalt.

The weekend trip to Parachute may have resulted in defeat in the Grand Valley High School gym, but the team gave the Cardinals more of a struggle, with the 25-16, 25-14, 25-20 series a far better outcome than when the teams met earlier this month.

"Our service was so much better," said coach Starla Jensen, noting that the girls maintained a 93 percent service rate Saturday, minimizing the errors that have hurt them all season.

With a solid if not winning performance behind them, expectations were high heading to Basalt, which consistently has remained in last place within the 3A Western Slope League.

A loss to a Longhorns team that is now 0-17 would not have helped team morale, Jensen said.

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"We focused on what we needed to do, and we made sure we did it right," she said.

The Lady Bulldogs started 25-17 and 25-13 before finishing off their opponents with a 25-10 set that was their best outcome of the season, their record now 5-13 overall.

"We've had a bunch of great moments this season, and we just need to keep moving in a positive direction," the coach said. "It's been a little bit of a roller coaster at times, but we maintain our focus and look at one game at a time, one ball at a time, put our best foot forward."

It's not over yet for Moffat County volleyball — the team will travel to Grand Junction on Friday for the two-day Western Slope League tournament. Within the conference, MCHS is tied with Aspen and Roaring Fork for fifth place, each with a 2-5 league tally thanks to Aspen's Saturday defeat of Carbondale school Roaring Fork.

The Bulldogs were given the fifth seed in the tourney thanks to greater recent point totals, a slot that has both positive and negative implications in the three guaranteed matches this weekend.

On Friday afternoon, the MCHS girls will face off with Gunnison for the third time this season — the Cowboys narrowly beat the Bulldogs on Oct. 11 — while Saturday afternoon, the team will meet Basalt again.

It's the game in the middle that will be most difficult as Moffat County competes Friday night with the Coal Ridge Titans, who have finished the regular season with a perfect league record.

A fourth game Saturday will be determined by the outcomes of the eight-team tourney, and that may or may not be the end of the season for the Bulldogs.

According to MaxPreps Freeman Rankings, MCHS ranks 40th in 3A teams across the state, a standing that will be updated Thursday to include the team's Monday victory against Basalt. Thirty-six teams will advance to regionals, and Moffat County remains hopeful that it may gain one of those berths, with the league tournament an important factor.

"We're in the driver's seat for our own destiny," Jensen said. "Every point counts."

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

3A Western Slope League volleyball tournament

The event takes place Friday and Saturday at Central High School in Grand Junction. The Lady Bulldogs’ schedule follows:

Time, date — Opponent

4 p.m. Friday — Gunnison

8:30 p.m. Friday — Coal Ridge

2 p.m. Saturday — Basalt

5 p.m. Saturday — TBD