Moffat County volleyball reaches new milestone in sweep of Caprock Academy
For the Craig Press
A Thursday evening game in Grand Junction against a team they trounced earlier in the month may not have been the most thrilling for Moffat County High School volleyball players, but the numbers told a bigger story.
MCHS earned a sweep on the road against Caprock Academy, their second time in as many weeks going 3-0 against the Eagles.
The win was nice, but the fact that it was their 10th of the fall was all the better.
The Bulldogs’ last winning season was in 2007, when a dominating squad went 17-5 and attained second place in the 4A Western Slope League.
The volleyball program has long since dropped to 3A and has seen some hard times, their best record in years a 9-14 finish in 2019.
The 3A WSL has regularly been tight competition, but you wouldn’t know it the way the MoCo girls were playing in the Caprock gym.
A 5-0 start to the night led to a few quick Eagle points on MCHS missteps before senior Abbe Adams smashed a decisive kill to get the Dogs back on track at 6-3.
Junior Alexis Jones got comfy for a lengthy stretch at the service line, collecting several aces and getting Caprock moving.
“We were working on some spot serving and kind of picking on some girls. When I missed a serve, I thought, ‘I haven’t done that in a while!’” Jones said.
A healthy lead progressed as senior Taytum Smercina earned the kill that made it game point. A frantic bump by Caprock on the next point was a side out that ended the set 25-10.
The Eagles got some wind under their wings in the second set, and the scoreboard reflected it, as the Bulldogs were tied up at 6, 16 and 17.
Senior Reese Weber noted that the Eagles seemed to have adjusted and were offering back row players more of a challenge.
“Since they started hitting cross, we’d have to take step to the left or another one to get there, but most of the time they didn’t hit very hard,” she said.
Caprock pulled ahead after being even at 19-19, but Adams answered with a block to get back in the lead at 21-20.
Junior Cayden King earned an ace at 23-20, which was followed by a faulty spike and a dig that sent the ball into the net by Caprock to end the round 25-20.
The Bulldogs positively raced to the end of the evening from there, and MoCo hitters were ready to make it an early night, as Adams, King, Smercina and Lizzy LeWarne didn’t slow down at all, leading to an 8-1 run before a timeout.
The Dogs were on the good side of a double-digit deficit for most of the third set, including a 21-6 lead before the final huddle between teams.
Leading up to match point, Jones had a bit of a bobbled hit at the net, yet the ball still fell in her favor to go to 24-10.
“It was a little bit of an offset, so I was freaking out a little bit, but it worked out,” she said.
The 25-10 finale put MCHS at 10-10 overall, and 4-4 in 3A WSL play, with the potential to reach or break a .500 record for the first time in 14 years still in reach.
However, the final home game will be a far tougher one, as the Bulldogs host Senior Night Tuesday with games starting at 4 p.m. at MCHS against Aspen, followed by a road game Oct. 30 in Basalt.
As optimistic as they are, Moffat County athletes also are aware the return to league play will be far tougher.
“Aspen and Basalt will be returning a lot more balls, so it’ll be a lot more challenging,” Jones said.
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