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Lady Rockets get much needed win

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Goddard Lady Rocket’s Sophia Price, Vittoria Price and Lacie Schooley go up for a block against Lovington. Goddard would go on to win 25-20, 25-19, 17-25, and 25-13 Tuesday night at home. (Steve Notz Photo)

The Goddard Lady Rocket volleyball team picked up their initial district win of the season as they downed Lovington 25-20, 25-19, 17-25, and 25-13. The Rockets got contributions from a plethora of players as they move to 1-2 in district play heading into Thursday’s big match against Roswell High.

“We needed a win,” stated a happy coach Kristi Hager. “We needed this win. They are a lot better this year – they are competitive. Overall, with us, it’s all about consistency. Being the same team on the court every single time. They did a great job finding our holes and taking advantage of it, but, thankfully, we were able to come out on top.”

The Wildcats (9-8) played well in spurts, but still could not get that elusive win over the Rockets as they haven’t beaten Goddard since the 2011 season.

It was the Wildcats who led for most of the initial set as they used a dink by senior Alexis Borunda to follow up four consecutive errors to take an early 3-2 lead. The visitors would maintain a 2-point lead as the Rockets could not take advantage of an early ace by Vittoria Price or a kill by senior Camarynn Villalpando.

Back-to-back kills by Villalpando and Price followed by a service winner from Kiaya Island would tie it at 11-all. With the Wildcats playing effectively on defense and the Rockets’ errors mounting, the game went back and forth and was eventually tied late at 17-all.

The Rockets would use a service winner from freshman Lacie Schooley to start a nice Rocket run and give them a lead they would never relinquish. Goddard would get a block by Vittoria Price to make it 24-19 and then get the final side out for the 25-20 win.

Unlike the first set, it was the Rockets who maintained an early lead. The hosts would lead 6-3 only to watch the Wildcats come back and take their first lead at 8-7 following a Rocket hitting error.

The Rockets would regain the lead following a Villalpando kill, but the teams would battle on even terms at 13-all.

Vittoria Price would get a kill down the middle and then follow with one cross-court and then see her sister, Sophia, the district leader in blocks, get the better of Borunda, the district leader in kills, to make it 16-14 Rockets.

Coach Hager knew that controlling Borunda would be a key in the match. “We were able to adjust a little on our part to hopefully limit her effectiveness in the game which worked out to our advantage. We were able to take that and effectively roll with it, especially in the fourth set.”

The Rockets would never trail again as they closed out set two on a 5-0 run. The hosts used a blast from Schooley, a block from Valerie Martinez, and final service winner from Villalpando to win 25-19.

The third set was more of the same as the teams fought on even terms for the majority of the set. The game was tied early at 7, 8, 9, and 10-all. A nice kill by Haley Willis started a 4-0 Rocket run, but the Wildcats would not lay down.

The Wildcats started to serve Borunda again, and she would come through as Lovington would get the tie at 14-all. With the score tied at 16-16, the Wildcats would go on a defining 4-0 run and then not look back as they got back into the match with the 25-17 win.

The fourth set was all Rockets as they got out to a quick 6-0 lead. Willis’ jump serves were causing chaos for the Wildcats as they started to get few good hitting attempts. Following a kill by Vittoria Price, it was Villalpando’s jump serves to create the havoc and the lead had grown to 9-2.

The visitors had few answers for the Rocket onslaught as Villalpando again jump served the hosts to a 19-9 advantage late. Libero Allie French would get a couple of service winners late to make it 23-12 and a final error gave the Rockets the 25-13 win.

“It’s nice starting out with a 6-0 lead,” said Hager of the big early lead. “We have to keep pushing. We have to use this and gear it up and funnel it to Thursday.”

The Rockets host the Roswell Lady Coyotes on Thursday at 6:30 pm with the hopes of getting back into the district race.