In their second-to-last match of the season, the Lady Colt volleyball team lost a fantastic five-set duel to visiting Mescalero Apache: 25-19, 23-25, 25-11, 23-25, 15-12.
NMMI trailed early in the initial set, allowing the Lady Chiefs to take the first six points. But despite being down twice by as much as 10, the Lady Colts fought back to make it a very close set.
The second set was even closer. NMMI broke out to an early 5-2 lead, allowed Mescalero to tie it up at 11s, then went on five and four-point runs to make it 20-13. The last five point were hard to get, however, as the Lady Chiefs scrambled back, getting as close as 24-23 before hitting an attack into the net to give NMMI the second set.
“Game three was harsh — we did not play well,” said NMMI head coach Stephanie Schooley. “ We had a lot of errors and did not play as a team. But we came back after that third set, won a tough battle in the fourth set, then played to within three points in game five.”
That fourth set was another hard-fought battle, with freshman Rilan Maloney earning the final set point and the win on a kill from the right side.
In the final fifth set, NMMI held a 9-6 lead, but tough Lady Chief serves and attacks saw that edge slip, 11-9, in favor of Mescalero. A kill by Lady Colt Abigail Valadez made it 11-10; Mia Walker knocked down another NMMI attack to make it 12-11; but that was a close at the Lady Colts would get.
“I am so proud of how hard the girls played tonight,” continued coach Schooley. “They really fought all the way until the end. I’m definitely proud of my seniors. We have three seniors who have been with me for four years: Alyssa Bolander, Grace Tompkins and Abby Valadez. They gave it their all. But I don’t want to just focus on a few players, because I feel like it took everyone out there on the floor tonight. I told the girls to hold their heads high – we played some amazing team volleyball, especially in those last two sets.”
With the loss, NMMI’s record moves back to even-steven, 7-7, with one game left on the schedule.
“We have Gateway tomorrow,” said Schooley. “There’s no rest for us, but I hope we can carry the momentum from tonight into our match tomorrow. Gateway’s a very good team and we’re going to have to keep playing at a high level if we want to close out the season with a win.”
That match versus Gateway will be held at NMMI’s Cahoon Armory gym beginning at 6:30 p.m. It will be a special “Pink Out” night in celebration of NMMI’s Cancer Awareness Week, with special activities planned before, during, and after the match.