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Local teams advance at state volleyball tournament


Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

ALBUQUERQUE — The state volleyball playoffs are underway, with some local teams advancing and others facing an end to their seasons.

Roswell beats Farmington

Pool Play wasn’t exactly how Roswell coach Heather Baca drew it up. What her team needed was a bye. Due to losing to Artesia in Pool Play, the Lady Coyotes made Farmington pay for playing them in the first round, defeating them 25-13, 25-18, 25-18 at the Santa Ana Star Center Thursday.

“I thought we did a really good job of capitalizing on their servicing weakness,” Baca said. “The kids played good defense today. We were hoping not to play the first round, but it didn’t work out like that.”

Baca received a total team effort from Kaitlyn Holl, who had 12 kills and teammate Julia Espinoza, who had 11 kills. Jalen Baca had three aces and 19 digs, with a big performance from Jasmine Aguirre and Elisa Perez. Roswell setter Nayelli Morales controlled the game and to make the right pass to the right player for easy kill shots. Valeria Bonilla had four blocks for points.

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“St. Pius X is loaded,” Heather Baca said. “They have kids that can attack, they have great jumpers and their middles are really good. We are going to have to work hard to find the court and hope that our defensive effort from our back-row kids keeps us in the match. I’m going to tell my kids they have to slay a giant.”

Roswell takes on St. Pius X at 9:45 a.m. Friday at the Santa Ana Star Center.

Goddard earns bye 

The Lady Rockets went off on Farmington in Pool Play and annihilated them. Against Santa Teresa, they fell behind early and came back after being behind and won. In the second set, Goddard lost on a close game. Because they had beaten Farmington, and Santa Teresa and Farmington split, Goddard received a first-round bye.

Goddard plays Albuquerque Academy at Santa Ana Star Center at 9:45 a.m Friday. The teams have met in Pool Play before, but not in a match. The difference between Pool Play is two sets, no matter who wins, whereas in a match, the first team to win three games out of five wins the match.

“I think we have some strong characteristics to take advantage of them,” said coach Kristi Hager. “If we are playing our game, as long as our girls come out with confidence and ready to roll, we should be in a pretty good spot.”

If Goddard can get past Academy they will play the winner of Roswell-St. Pius X at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

The bye did Goddard good. They watched a game to see who they were going to be playing, went to dinner and talked about what it means to them to be at the state tournament.

“At this point in the game,” Hager said, “and this point in the season, it’s all about your mental state. Who is going to show up at the right time, you never know what is going to happen.”

Dexter tops Desert Academy

Dexter had their way with the Desert Academy and Rehoboth in Pool Play. In fact, they were so dominating Dexter used a different strategy and another setter to gain experience. With the win in Pool Play, they earned a bye and did not play in the first round. Friday, Dexter faces conference rival Loving at 11:30 a.m. at the Santa Ana Star Center for the right to advance to play the winner of the Santa Fe Prep and Santa Rosa winner at 6:30 p.m.

Dexter defeated Loving twice in the regular season and in the district tournament for the championship.

“We have to control the ball and pass the ball,” said Dexter coach Andy Luikens. “If we can stay in system, that’s always to our advantage. We beat them three in a row, but we don’t want to take them lightly. They’re a good team and they have a little bit of motivation to beat us, so we have to take care of business.”

Luikens is hoping for improvement in his team’s serving and passing the ball. The Lady Demons watched the Loving-Eunice game and then went to dinner and relaxed.

Gateway Christian goes down

The Lady Warriors had a rough tournament starting with Pool Play. They did not play well and had to face off against district foe Tatum in the opening match. Gateway Christian did not go down without a fight as they fought from behind to extend the second match before losing. The Lady Warriors played with only two of their starters and it showed. The Warriors played several players out of position. Gateway was overmatched and shorthanded as they lost in three sets: 25-18, 28-26, 25-16, to end their season.

“I thought we were going to pull the second set out for a win,” said Gateway Christian coach Kerri Pirtle. “I told my girls that I was proud of them and they picked up their game even dealing with playing out of position and with different personnel. These girls learned a lot and I’m proud of them.”

Hagerman wins over Questa

Hagerman continues their hot play at just the right time. The Lady Bobcats, winners of their District 4-2A tournament, played well in Pool Play, but had to play Questa. They defeated Questa in four sets: 25-11, 24-26, 25-19, 25-17, to advance to the quarterfinals at 8 a.m. Friday against Fort Sumner/House.

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