The Fruita Monument volleyball team celebrated a come-from-behind victory over Palisade on Thursday by sending a thank-you note to Montrose.

The Wildcats, who dropped a five-set marathon thriller in Montrose earlier this week, rallied to top Palisade 24-26, 25-21, 25-22, 25-19 in a showdown of the top valley volleyball teams.

“We kind of learned from (the loss in Montrose),” Fruita Monument junior libero Trinity Hafey said. “We took what we did well in that match and continued that. And (Thursday night) we played a lot better.”

Hafey, a dynamo with her acrobatic digs — she finished with 35 in the match — and sprawling saves, said the Wildcats had a spirited, focused practice session after the draining loss to Montrose.

“Yes, we had a lot of energy in practice. We knew what we needed to do to win,” said Hafey, the Wildcats’ quarterback on the court.

Teammate BayLea Sparks, who led the Wildcats with 21 kills, said the team was focused on better serving and fewer errors against Palisade.

“We eliminated our errors, especially on the blocking,” Sparks said, adding that the Bulldogs put together a major comeback to stun the Wildcats in the opening set.

Palisade, after trailing by nine points early, surged with an 8-0 run that became a 12-2 run that tied the set at 17-17.

Palisade’s Addie Ritterbush, a freshman, led the rally with a tip for a point and back-to-back kills. Teammate Ella Steele, a junior, contributed a block for a point. She also added an ace serve to match an ace by teammate Kyra Birch.

Senior Ella Yanowich added a block and a kill to set up Birch’s set-winning kill as the Bulldogs claimed the opener 26-24.

“They came back and got that (first set),” Sparks said. “But we didn’t let that happen again.”

An aggressive serving orientation helped, she said.

“We missed a lot of serves in our last match,” Sparks said. “We needed to have our serves on (Thursday night).”

With Hayden Murray, who finished with 27 assists and 14 digs, setting the tone from the service line, the Wildcats battled to a 25-21 win the second set to even the match. Sparks recorded nine kills in the second set.

Palisade again forced Fruita Monument to come from behind in the third set, which the Wildcats eventually won 25-22.

The momentum extended into the decisive fourth set, won by Fruita Monument 25-19.

“We use momentum as a big part of our game,” Hafey said, adding that the Wildcats can feel the energy with strong attacks at the net by Sparks and the rest of the Wildcats.

“She (Sparks) was on … it really helps to have someone in the front (row) who is always attacking,” Hafey said.

Palisade (13-4) was led by the versatile Yanowich, who had 14 kills, and Steele, who had 30 assists. Ritterbush added 10 kills for the Bulldogs, who host Central on Tuesday.

Fruita Monument (14-3) is tied wit Montrose atop the Southwestern League at 6-1. The Wildcats host Durango on Oct. 22.

“We used (the loss at Montrose) as kind of a wake-up call,” Fruita Monument head coach Mike Lans said. “We really hadn’t been challenged since the first weekend of the season.”

Dropping the close, intense match to Montrose was “a trigger that we needed to get us more focused,” Lans said.

The extended practice session leading into the Palisade match included an emphasis on serving and on sideouts.

“We’ve got to try to get that first-ball sideout,” Lans said. “That’s the key in volleyball. And our hitting (Thursday night) was a lot better, way better than at Montrose.”