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Volleyball season is here

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Two Roswell volleyball players go for a block against Artesia in Tuesday’s volleyball tournament at the Coyote Den. (J.T. Keith Photo)

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Within the next month, school will be in session and all sports will begin. Many can’t wait for the first sounds of the coaches blowing the whistle for football. Many that play volleyball can’t wait for the coaches to toss the balls in the air and watch their players dive on the ground and dig the ball, while others can’t wait for the kill.

Believe it or not, it’s here. On Tuesday, 16 teams from the area competed in the Roswell-Goddard Summer Tournament held every year before the season gets underway. Roswell took Artesia to the limit in a 27-26 game with no winner determined. There were players diving for balls and some sustaining injuries, none from the local teams.

Goddard looks to be taller than last season and has many returning players off a team that was up, 2-0 on St. Pius X. Look for them to be in the mix this season while learning a new system from new first-year coach Dewayne Roberts, who brings a college coaching pedigree to the Goddard program. Roberts coached for three seasons at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. Before that, he was a vital part of the coaching staff at Eastern New Mexico University. Look for the Lady Rockets to respond to his low-key style of coaching and teaching. During the action on Tuesday, they won several games.

“I’m looking forward to the season to begin,” Roberts said. “We need to get competition from schools we will see during the season. The main goal for me was to see my girls compete against someone else other than ourselves. My girls showed me they want to get better. They showed me they have a lot of heart and want to work to get better.”

Roswell played competitively with all of the teams they played against. Lady Coyote coach Heather Baca knows that her team has to play at their best when they step on the court this season as they move up in the reclassification — they will be in the same district with Hobbs, Carlsbad and Clovis. Roswell played well against Carlsbad and the other teams they faced.

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“My team is pursuing the ball,” Baca said, “that’s what I need to see out of them. We are going to have to rise to the challenge — moving up in class. We’re going to have to prepare and rehearse and we have to get better in certain positions and we are going to have to get ready to go. We are going to make the most out of every opportunity we have.”

The Lady Coyotes play against Portales on Tuesday.

Artesia will be in Goddard’s district. They have played in the tournament for the last few years. Coach Alan Williams has been the coach for seven years. Williams uses this tournament and the others Artesia plays in during the summer as a way to get experience and have his team get used to playing together.

“All of us have been really competitive at state,” Williams said. “I figure it is going to be really tough in the district this season as we pick up Portales.”

The Lady Bulldogs graduated nine seniors and will have seven players back that played a lot, but didn’t start. This summer is crucial for them to get their timing down before the season begins.

There are people that can’t wait for football season to begin, but there is another sport that is drawing just as much attention as football and that’s volleyball.

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.

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