Columbia High missed a couple of chances to move up in Trico Division standings last week, losing to Ridgefield at home and to Castle Rock on the road.
The Bruins (0-4, 2-9) didn't look anything like the team that turned in a second-place effort the weekend before at Trout Lake.
Ridgefield had CHS on its heels from the outset of the first set of their Sept. 23 match. The Spudders prevailed 25-12 in the opening set to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
In the second set, they scored three aces among their first 11 points in taking a 9-point lead. They eventually hiked their lead to 11 before the Bruins awoke from a slumber.
Senior Jessica Mosbrucker served two aces to make it 15-8. Later, junior Corrine Blankenship recorded a kill to bring the Bruins with 20-14.
But Columbia let Ridgefield wriggle away, committing a service error, three hitting errors and a net violation in losing 25-15.
The Bruins hung with the Spudders early in the third set, despite a series of passing, hitting and serving errors that abetted Ridgefield's cause.
A kill by senior Emily Swick closed Ridgefield's lead to 8-4. But for every step forward they took, the Bruins took two steps back.
Ridgefield strung 11 consecutive points together -- four on kills, the rest on CHS errors -- to take a commanding 19-4 lead.
The Bruins tried to rally, getting a kill from senior Krista Bakke and another ace by Mosbrucker for a 19-6 deficit. But another run of unforced errors doomed them to a 25-10 defeat.
"It'd be easy to give all the credit to the other teams, but the fact of the matter is, we're beating ourselves," Bruins Coach Terry Thomas said. "We're still learning the mental toughness of how to make mistakes and how to coach ourselves through getting over them."
At Castle Rock 3, Columbia High 1 --
The Bruins rallied from a 4-point deficit behind the serving of Corrine Blankenship to win the first set of last Thursday's match, 25-23.
"Now that was exciting," enthused Bruins Coach Terry Thomas. "And we did that without our two main setters and our best middle blocker. Unfortunately, we weren't able to keep it up."
What caught up with and hurt the Bruins in the next three sets was erratic serve receive, passing, setting and hitting.
In the second, they fell behind 4-0 but trimmed the Rockets' lead to two on two occasions: first on Krista Bakke's ace and again on a kill by Abby Zuck.
Castle Rock opened things up, however, with a 9-2 run that included four aces and one kill.
Bakke had a kill and Becky Clary served an ace to slow the Rockets' ascent, but three Bruins errors helped Castle Rock extend its lead to 17-8.
Columbia eventually got within 19-14 on an ace by Emily Swick. However, a CHS hitting error, three straight aces and another hitting error propelled the Rockets into a 24-14 lead en route to a 25-17 win.
Castle Rock served 11 more aces in winning the third and foruth sets, 25-10, 25-9.