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Lady Rockets to play for state title

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The Rocket volleyball team will play Los Lunas for the state title today at 4 p.m. at the Santa Ana Star Center. (Submitted Photo)

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Is it the uniforms? Is it the coaching or the players? or a combination of all of the above? Goddard cache Dewayne Roberts hasn’t a clue and right now he could care less. Goddard has been on a mission ever since they lost to Artesia at home in the district tournament playoffs on Saturday.

“We were disappointed with not winning on Saturday,” Roberts said earlier this week. “We got back to work and kept game planning for this week. We have a philosophy to forget about past mistakes, fix the mistake and move forward, whether it be the next pass, or kill after a mistake or the next game after a loss.”

Roberts has his team doing just that. When Goddard went up top of the state to play in pool play, they acted like they owned the place and the title was already theirs and everyone else was playing for second place. In pool play, they faced Los Lunas and split with them losing the first set 24-26, 25-18, before moving on to defeat Los Alamos, the No. 5 seed in the tournament and swept them: 25-23 and 25-22.

In their next matchup against Albuquerque Academy, they won the first match 25-19, 25-21 before losing the third game 25-19 and then closing them out 25-16. Senior Tori Price came up huge and put her team on her shoulder in that game and received key contributions from Sidney Bills.

In Friday’s matchup against the No. 2 seed Hope Christian, Goddard gained confidence when they jumped out ahead of them and won the first game, 27-25. Goddard won the second game 25-20 and faltered the third game 25-23 but came roaring back to win the fourth game 25-20 to make an appearance in the championship game. According to coach Roberts, it was a team effort with everyone on the team chipping in.

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“This is the first time in the state tournament that we have played to our potential,” Goddard coach Roberts said. “This is not 100 percent our best, but it is the best we have played in the tournament — we are coming together at the right time. If someone made a mistake, someone picked them up. Our defense is playing out of our minds. We are digging balls we normally don’t get to. I told our kids to let it all hang out because tomorrow is the last game of the season.”

Goddard will face off against the No. 9 seed Los Lunas today at 4 p.m. at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho on Court 1.