The twin pillars |

The twin pillars

When the Bulldogs get down, Matthews and Roberts pull them up

Ben Bulkeley

The Moffat County High School volleyball team is coming off a 9-14 season, but players are optimistic they can regroup and rebuild this season and have a winning record. The team is, back row from left, Morgan Knob, Adrie Camp, Annie Sadvar, Lauren Roberts, Makayla Camilletti and Melissa Camilletti. In the front row from left is Chanda Walker, Kelley Syvertson, Jordan Field and Jessica Matthews.

Off the court, the 2010 Moffat County High School volleyball team looks quite different, with two new coaches representing the biggest changes the team has seen from last season to this one.

On the court, however, the Bulldogs have two of their pillars back for 2010.

Ubiquitous Jess

What covers a volleyball court?

There's wood, fastened down and sanded. There's a splash of paint — a few lines signaling out-of-bounds.

There's a thin coat of lacquer over that wood and paint.

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And, lastly, there's Jessica Matthews.

The senior libero is the MCHS volleyball team's last line of defense.

Its' safety net.

Or, as Lauren Roberts calls her, the Bulldogs' big-talking, bigger-hitting back-row enforcer.

"Jess is the person you rely on," Roberts said. "She's out there to cover you. She gets the ball up, and you just have to make sure you don’t get in her way.

"She runs the back row and sees the court. She's the biggest talker on the floor — she's the one telling you who's where and where the holes are."

The lone returning all-conference selection, Matthews will again patrol the court as the libero — a free-wheeling defensive specialist.

"As a libero, it's not about the glory," she said. "Because of that, you need to stay humble. You need to always be there. You need to show them that hard work makes a difference."

In her last go around through the Western Slope League, Matthews said she is more focused on playing volleyball the right way.

"This is my senior year, but I'm OK if we finish without a huge win record," she said. "I just want our team to play hard. I won't accept anything less than their all."

Playing hard in defeat takes the sting away. Playing lazy in a win takes the sweetness away, Matthews said.

"Playing your hardest makes everything better," she said. "If you kill a team but it was easy, it’s not as good. If you play hard and lose, you can't really feel that bad.

"Tie games are the best — that's when everyone realizes that every point matters."

The example

When Lauren Roberts steps out onto the court, she doesn't want to be known as the most talented player on the floor.

She doesn't care what the score is.

She merely wants her team to follow her lead.

"I think I've started to grow into the leadership role," she said. "I want to be the example."

Roberts' position is to be determined.

She is split between outside hitter ("That's where I've been for the last couple of years.") and middle hitter ("I'm tall. Middle hitters are tall.").

But, it's her job before the ball is served that she relishes.

"Mainly, my job is to keep everyone's heads up during the rough games," she said. "It's easy to let one bad play affect your team, so I have to keep everyone in the game play after play. I feel that if I can pull everyone back into the game mindset, they'll be OK.

"Out of all the sports I've played, volleyball is the most mental."

For her teammates, having a force up front is important, but having a leader on the sidelines is vital.

"For me, I know Lauren will always be there," Matthews said. "She's my support. I know she won't quit, even when I'm in the pits she'll come over and say 'You and me.'

"We both know that if we play our hardest and lose, we still have each other. No matter what, we'll play our hardest."

The new movement

Shortly before the 2009-10 school year came to a close, there was word the volleyball coaching staff would be shaken up.

Head coach Brianna Montgomery-Braun, the 2007 Western Slope League coach of the year, stepped down after three-and-a-half years.

Her assistant coaches, Becky Otterman and Kitrina Lacen, would also leave.

Their departure opened the door for Sandy Camilletti, who was an assistant for Montgomery-Braun in 2007 and an all-state selection for MCHS. She was hired to take over as head coach.

With a few weeks to go before the season started, Camilletti and the Bulldogs added Stormy Schuler, a former Division I college volleyball player and new Craig Middle School health teacher.

Almost immediately, the chemistry of the team changed, Roberts said.

"In the few weeks we have been practicing, I can see that our new coaches have brought in a lot more hope," she said. "They've brought the feeling that if you work your hardest and try your hardest, you'll be OK."

The team isn't completely new, however.

In addition to Roberts and Matthews, 2009 holdovers include seniors Chanda Walker, Kelley Syvertson, juniors Melissa Camilletti, Adrie Camp, Jordan Field, Morgan Knob and Annie Sadvar, and sophomore Makayla Camilletti.

On the floor, Camilletti said that never-say-die mentality has spread throughout the team.

"The thing about this group is they are so positive," she said. "Everyone on the team works hard, and our seniors lead by example.

"This is a nice group of kids, inside and out."

Team success this season starts at the top, the coach said.

"This is a group of girls I expect to never quit on any ball, any match or any game," she said. "If they fight hard, winning is always a possibility.

"They are bringing back positive leadership."

2010 MCHS varsity volleyball schedule:

Time Date Place Host/Opponent

11 a.m. Sept. 3 Away Regis Jesuit Tournament

3 p.m. Sept. 3 Away Regis Jesuit Tournament

11 a.m. Sept. 4 Away Regis Jesuit Tournament

3 p.m. Sept. 4 Away Regis Jesuit Tournament

6:30 p.m. Sept. 9 Away Grand Junction (9-12 overall)

1 p.m. Sept. 11 Home Fruita-Monument (8-12 overall)

7 p.m. Sept. 14 Home Hayden (4-14 overall)

6:30 p.m. Sept. 17 Away Palisade (15-7 overall)

1 p.m. Sept. 18 Away Delta (3-16 overall)

1 p.m. Sept. 25 Away Glenwood Springs (14-8 overall)

6:30 p.m. Sept. 30 Home Steamboat Springs (15-6 overall)

11 a.m. Oct. 2 Home Eagle Valley (20-6 overall)

5 p.m. Oct. 2 Home Battle Mountain (7-14 overall)

1 p.m. Oct. 9 Home Delta (3-16 overall)

6:30 p.m. Oct. 12 Home Palisade (15-7 overall)

1 p.m. Oct. 16 Home Glenwood Springs (14-8 overall)

6:30 p.m. Oct. 21 Away Steamboat Springs (15-6 overall)

noon Oct. 23 Away Eagle Valley (20-6 overall)

5 p.m. Oct. 23 Away Battle Mountain (7-14 overall)

JV Volleyball

Time Date Place Opponent

TBD Sept. 4 Away Palisade Tournament

5:30 p.m. Sept. 9 Away Grand Junction

Noon Sept. 11 Home Fruita-Monument

6 p.m. Sept. 14 Home Hayden

5:30 p.m. Sept. 17 Away Palisade

Noon Sept. 18 Away Delta

6:30 p.m. Sept. 23 Home Little Snake River Valley

5:30 p.m. Sept. 30 Home Steamboat Springs

Noon Oct. 9 Home Delta

5:30 p.m. Oct. 12 Home Palisade

Noon Oct. 16 Home Glenwood Springs

5:30 p.m. Oct. 21 Away Steamboat Springs

Freshmen volleyball

Time Date Place Opponent

4:30 p.m. Sept. 9 Away Grand Junction

11 a.m. Sept. 11 Home Fruita-Monument

5 p.m. Sept. 14 Home Hayden

4:30 p.m. Sept. 17 Away Palisade

11 a.m. Sept. 18 Away Delta

5:30 p.m. Sept. 23 Home Little River Snake Valley

4:30 p.m. Sept. 30 Home Steamboat Springs

11 a.m. Oct. 9 Home Delta

4:30 p.m. Oct. 12 Home Palisade

11 a.m. Oct. 16 Home Glenwood Springs

4:30 p.m. Oct. 21 Away Steamboat Springs

MCHS volleyball team at a glance:


Sandy Camilletti — first year

Stormy Schuler — first year


Jessica Matthews*

Lauren Roberts

Kelley Syvertson

Chanda Walker

  • 2009 all-conference honorable mention

2009 record:

9-14 (5-9 in the Western Slope League)

By the numbers:

10-12: Since 2006, the MCHS varsity volleyball team has gone 39-48, for an average record of 10-12. The Bulldogs’ best year in that span was 2007, when the team went 17-5.

3: The team returns three starters (Annie Sadvar, Melissa Camilletti and Lauren Roberts), not including libero Jessica Matthews and key reserve Kelley Syvertson, from 2009.

2: Consecutive Western Slope League titles for Eagle Valley High School. The Lady Devils went 20-6 in 2009, and return four all-conference selections.