Palisade halts skid with close victory over Battle Mountain
Coming off back-to-back losses, the Palisade High School volleyball team could’ve gone in the tank after losing the first game Thursday.
Instead, the Bulldogs battled back and ended their losing streak with a 20-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-23 victory over Battle Mountain.
“A lot of it was our heart,” Palisade outside hitter Jenny Thibodeau said. “We decided as a team that we wanted to play our best the whole time and leave everything out there.”
The Bulldogs (10-6, 7-2 Western Slope League) started slowly, but responded in the second game.
With the teams tied 23-23, Battle Mountain took a one-point lead on a Palisade error, but the Bulldogs battled back with a Thibodeau kill followed by a Audrey Steinkirchner block for the 25-24 lead.
Palisade sealed the second game on a Huskies error.
“It wasn’t the easiest match for us, but I think we worked together to get through it,” Palisade coach Wendy MacAskill said. “We wanted this win and if we stayed together, we knew we’d get it done.”
The third game mirrored the second with the scored tied again at 23-23. Back-to-back blocks from Chelsea Wells closed out the game.
In the fourth game, the Bulldogs appeared to be pulling away at 20-17 after a Shannon Rhodes kill. The Huskies clawed their way back and tied the game again at 23-23.
Thibodeau put the Bulldogs up 24-23 with a kill, and Wells sealed the match with a block. “This was a big step for us,” MacAskill said. “We’ve been in position where we’ve gotten into the 20’s first and weren’t able to finish.
“But we learned our lesson and if teams come back we have a certain amount of confidence to pull ourselves back into it.”
Steinkirchner led the Bulldogs with 21 kills and six blocks. Danette Whittington had 14 digs and Thibodeau added 10 digs.
Rhodes had 43 assists and sophomore Tahverle Hodges finished with three aces.
“Our number one goal (Thursday) was to say after the match that we played as a team the whole time,” MacAskill said. “We worked through some things and played together.”
Palisade travels to Eagle Valley on Saturday. The Devils are currently ranked sixth in The Denver Post top 10 volleyball poll.
“Our past couple matches haven’t been very good,” Steinkirchner said. “So we were psyched for this match and we have to keep it going.”