MADISON — A season ago, the Hartford volleyball team totaled three wins on the season.
So perhaps pardon the Jaguars for being a little excited on Tuesday night when they walked out of the Madison gymnasium with two victories out of their first three games.
Hartford fell in its opener to Marmaton Valley before rallying to claim a three-set win over Colony-Crest and a two-set sweep over the host Bulldogs in Madison’s quadrangular.
“Already starting the year off with two wins, I think we’re on a high right now and I want to keep it,” said first year head coach Ashton Dorr.
“I want to keep it.”
Hartford came up short in two sets to the Wildcats, 11-25 and 20-25 and when its battle with the Lancers arrived, the Jaguars found themselves in a hole after a 25-20 loss.
Then came a boost.
“(It’s about) energy,” Dorr said. “That’s one thing we feed off of is having energy. When we don’t have it, that’s when ... it’s harder for us to (win) because we don’t have that energy. That was the main think I kept stressing ... during the Crest game was having energy.”
Once Hartford began to build that enthusiasm, it was tough to slow down.
The Jaguars took a 25-19 win in the second set and claimed victory in the third by the same margin to secure the match.
It was far from the likes of senior Bailey Darbyshire and junior Taylor Kelly on the net, either.
The back row brought near flawless defense much of the night, both against Crest and again when it faced Madison.
“One of our big things in practice is working on defense so (balls don’t fall),” Dorr said. “One of my key things is if the ball drops, they run for it. They know that in a game situation, if the ball drops, then it’s not good.”
The opening match with the Bulldogs nearly had a postseason feel to it. Though the Bulldogs jumped out to a 6-0 start, the gap closed quickly to an 8-8 tie.
Neither team gained separation by more than three points the rest of the way, drawing even on the scoreboard three more times before the Jaguars took a 25-23 win.
It was more tight play in the second set, until a late run provided Hartford with a 25-19 win and the match.
“I’m super excited about how they played and how this year’s (started),” Dorr said. “That was the way to go.”
Madison won its first game of the day, 25-20, 22-25, 25-12 over Marmaton Valley, before being swept by Crest, 21-25, 18-25. The Lancers swept the Wildcats, 26-24, 25-18, in their meeting of the night.