Senior salute: Moffat County match vs. Soroco an emotional final home game | CraigDailyPress.com

Senior salute: Moffat County match vs. Soroco an emotional final home game

For the majority of the members of the Moffat County High School volleyball program, Monday was just like any other game, but for the eldest athletes the evening was the final time as a group on their home court.

A 3-0 loss to Soroco stung a little more than usual during Senior Night as the Bulldogs celebrated their five upperclassmen — Terry Gillett, Tiffany Hildebrandt, Bailey Lawton, Ebawnee Smercina and Jaidyn Steele.

A pre-game ceremony included bouquets — made of both candy and flowers — and photos with parents as senior players commemorated the culmination of the past four years, during which they’ve seen three different head coaches amid wins and losses.

Though current head coach Jessica Profumo has only overseen the varsity team since this summer, she said she’ll be sad to see her seniors go.

“They’re all so different, and I love how some of them are a little more sassy or quiet or funny than others,” she said. “They all have really good hearts.”

Those hearts were pounding in a frenetic first set that was a slow start for the Lady Dogs despite hard hitting by Hildebrandt, Steele, Lawton and Jenna Timmer, with nearly half Moffat County’s 24 kills for the night coming early. A few too many service errors helped give it to the Rams 25-21.

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Soroco gained five fast points to start Set 2, and powerhouse moves by Makinley Parker and Tyla Johnson helped string along the lead quicker still, interrupted momentarily by Smercina gaining a kill on the fake-out set at the net to gain cheers from the crowd.

The Rams were already at 24-12 by the time Bulldogs started to mount a comeback, but that came to a close at 25-15.

The third round saw no lack off effort from the Dogs, but aside from a brief lead to begin it and tying it up at 10, 12, 14, they were repeatedly playing catch-up. Monster spikes by Soroco’s Sophia Benjamin didn’t help either, and the Rams picked up another 25-21 win to make their season record 9-10.

Profumo noted the Rams’ “tough, deep serves” that gained them more points than she would have liked to give up.

“I do think we did better tonight with those than we have in the past,” she said. “They can even know it’s coming deep, but it’s still a point of moving back and being in the right posture and being able to control it. They all worked together, and that’s all I can ask for.”

On Saturday, MCHS girls traveled to Parachute, falling 3-0 to Grand Valley in close games with the Cardinals: 25-22, 25-22 and 25-19.

“Energy-wise we did better tonight, just being at home, but it did distract some tonight with the seniors,” Profumo said. “They’re already sad about it being the last one before it’s even over, so that can be tough emotionally to manage.”

The slide in the second act was what players said ultimately affected the rest of the match.

“Our energy was up in the first game, but once we started losing it was tough to get it back,” Stephenie Swindler said.

Swindler, an MCHS junior, added that the excitement of Senior Night was present for all the girls.

“They all have such unique personalities that I’m going to miss about each and every one of them. They make us all laugh, and they have good attitudes,” she said.

Among the younger players to start moving up is freshman Abbe Adams, who suited up both Saturday and Monday, getting playing time on varsity against the Cardinals. Though she didn’t get a chance to rotate in for the top-tier against Soroco, she and teammates won handily against the Rams’ JV squad, 25-15 and 25-13.

“I’m really excited to get to work with the older girls. It’s a great experience,” Adams said.

MCHS girls — 5-13 overall, 2-7 in 3A Western Slope League — meet a different set of Rams this weekend with a road rematch against Roaring Fork, concluding the schedule Oct. 27 in Aspen.

Moffat County High School varsity volleyball seniors

MCHS seniors share their thoughts on the end of the season.

How do you feel you and your teammates have bonded over the years?

“I really feel like we’ve become like a family.”

— Terry Gillett

What have the last several years meant to you?

“It’s been fun learning new stuff, new positions and having different coaches, and I’m excited with how hard we’ve worked this year.”

— Tiffany Hildebrandt

What has stuck out most to you playing with this group for so long?

“The friendships that we’ve made. I think we’ve all become really close, so hopefully none of us lose that after this. I hope we all stay close and stay in touch after high school.”

— Bailey Lawton

What will you miss most about the sport?

“The teamwork and the relationships, for sure.”

— Ebawnee Smercina

How do you feel with things coming to a close?

“It’s kind of sad but bittersweet. It’s been fun and I’m not ready for it to be over, but I’m excited for what else I have planned.”

— Jaidyn Steele