Hotchkiss head coach Peter Nethington said he was very happy to see his Bulldogs come back from a three-game losing streak to win two conference matches last weekend.
At the Sept. 1-2 tournament at Rangely the Bulldogs lost three games, including a 2-1 loss to Hayden (25-20, 8-25, 15-10). They should have won, "But we just had a mental breakdown," said Nethington.
Last Friday they avenged that loss with a 25-21, 25-9, 25-23 conference win at Hayden.
The team had to adjust without senior Ashley Ziemer, who was taking her ACT tests, and Aubree Harward, who was competing with the Hotchkiss spirit team at a tournament in Denver. Rather than struggle, they played with more focus and confidence and showed improvement all around.
Hotchkiss had early leads in all three games and never let up. When they play well, the Tigers are hard to beat, said Nethington. But getting those early leads caught them off guard.
Hotchkiss also stepped up on passing, with sophomore setter Elsie Vasquez making "a huge difference" in the game. The defense also came up with some big digs and were quickly picking up on tips.
On Saturday the team was a little more off in its game, but still produced a 3-1 (25-19, 18-25, 25-15, 25-19) conference win over Soroco. "Passing and defense made all the difference in the world" in the win, said Nethington. "Soroco is a well-disciplined team, and the game was more of a back-and-forth struggle. This was not an easy win."
Junior Carson Collins led the defense with eight kills and five blocks. The defense also came up with 18 digs. "They had good defense all the way around," said Nethington.
After a first-set win they found themselves in a 9-1 hole that they weren't able to dig out of. In the final sets they came up with big points at the right time, kept the ball in play, and let Soroco make the mistakes, said Nethington.
In comparing where they were at this time last year, the Bulldogs are on track to improve their win-loss record. More than wins and losses, said Nethington, one of their goals for the season was to better last year's record, and they are on track to make that goal.
It's Homecoming week at Hotchkiss High School. The Bulldogs will host North Park (1-2 overall) at 6 p.m. Admission is also good for the Homecoming football game, which starts at 7 p.m.
On Saturday the Bulldogs host 3-3 West Grand at 3 p.m.