The Hotchkiss Bulldogs played hard but came up short Saturday in their league loss to visiting West Grand. It was their first league loss of the season.
Head coach Peter Nethington wasn't unhappy with the outcome after hearing how the Mustangs, a state qualifying team in 2016, beat up on the team last year. "They're a good team," he said.
Hotchkiss won the opening set, 25-21, and West Grand came back to win the second set, 14-25. After the Bulldogs dropped the third set, 18-25, Nethington said he worried they might give up. Instead, "We came out and we fought hard," winning the fourth set, 25-22.
Hotchkiss lost the fifth set, 9-15.
Morgan Miller and Carson Collins had 13 kills, seven blocks and three assists for the match. Outside hitter Fatima Rodriquez made four kills in nine attempts, and Shay Glaser had three kills and three assists. Libero Yasmine Gaub had 13 digs.
The team made a lot of little, costly errors, including 29 dig errors and 12 service receive errors. West Grand also kept finding that hole in center court. "That's one of the things we've talked about," and made a commitment to fix both mentally and physically, said Nethington.
West Grand had a definite height advantage and carried two seniors over from last year's team.
It was also the Bulldogs' homecoming week, which can be a distraction for athletes. "We took them to five games, and that says a lot," said Nethington.
Despite Friday's 3-0 homecoming win over North Park (25-16, 25-19, 25-15), the match wasn't a blowout, said Nethington.
North Park was tough and fought hard. Hotchkiss responded with "the same fighting mentality" as it did against West Grand. "And that made the difference."
Hotchkiss is 6-5 overall, and 4-1 in the 2A/1A Western Slope League. It plays Vail Christian Friday at Edwards, and hosts Vail Mountain at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26