Hotchkiss' Bulldogs were 8-6 overall and 6-2 in 2A/1A WSL play heading into their Oct. 3 match at Rangely (10-2, 6-0). On Sept. 26, Hotchkiss defeated Vail Mountain in straight sets and on Friday it was routed by Meeker (11-2, 6-0) in straight sets 25-13, 25-12 and 25-12.
Last week's encounter with Vail Mountain was all Hotchkiss as the Bulldogs controlled tempo most of the time. In set one the Bulldogs built an 8-3 lead on Fatima Rodriguez's service. The Gore Rangers fought back to cut Hotchkiss' lead to 20-18 late in the set. From there Hotchkiss kept at least a two-point cushion before winning the set point on Vail Mountain's Peyton Connoly's second service to earn a 25-22 decision.
Second set action was closely played down the stretch with Vail Mountain getting within one point (20-21) on Maggie Sturm's service.
Yasmine Gaub's service provided a 24-21 cushion when she lost the service. Junior Carson Collins ended the set with a kill giving the Bulldogs a 25-21 victory and a two-set advantage.
Vail Mountain found renewed energy in the third set and surged to a 9-3 advantage on the service of Alyssa Hilb. The Gore Rangers held a 16-14 lead as Morgan Miller took the service for the Bulldogs. Miller served four straight points to give Hotchkiss an 18-17 lead at the end of her service.
Ashley Ziemer's kill shot gave Hotchkiss a 23-22 lead with Ziemer stepping to the service line. The first two serves were good with Aubree Harward's kill shot ending the match for a 25-22 win in the third set.
Unofficially, Collins had eight kills in the contest and was a dominant force at the net. Hotchkiss coach Peter Nethington wasn't too surprised at how well the Bulldogs played when Collins rotated out of the lineup. "The kids played well. We stuck to the game plan."
At this point in the conversation, Collins interjected her observations on this year's team. "This is a new team. Coach has really helped us from the ground up. We've set certain standards helping us focus on getting better. Our number one goal is learning how to win."
Hotchkiss hosts Paonia Friday at 5 p.m. The match recognizes October as Cancer Awareness Month. Proceeds from the match will benefit the Delta County Memorial Hospital oncology department.