Goddard volleyball has returned. Expectations are high for the team that returns a stable of players and has promising young talent. Goddard has been on the road the first two games and defeated Hobbs in three sets on Aug. 29.
On Tuesday, Goddard invaded the Coyote Den and was pushed in the first set, as they overcame a 24-18 deficit. Goddard came from six points down as their poise and experience allowed them to come back and win not only the first game but closeout Roswell in three sets: 26-24, 25-15 and 25-18.
“It’s a good win,” Goddard coach Dewayne Roberts said. “We were down 24-18 in the first set, we come back to win 26-24 and that was a huge momentum win for us. It was a good performance for our second match of the year.”
Roberts felt that Roswell was ready to play and that anytime the two teams play each other, regardless of the situation, both teams are going to give it their all and fight to the end. He also knows that teams are going to give them their best shot because they have high expectations for the program this year.
“Nothing changes for us,” Roberts said. “We opened up the year ranked at No. 2 in the state and we’re No. 3. We’re going to go into the gym day in and day out, and work on our brand of volleyball. I told the girls ‘that we have a target on our backs now and I’m OK with that.’”
The difference between the team this year and last year’s team is they know Roberts’ system. They know he wants to play uptempo volleyball and what he expects in rotations and on defensive sets. Another difference between this season is that, in practice, he will put his team in different game situations and will try to make it as hard as possible for them so that when his team is faced with adversity in a game, it will be a normal situation they have seen in practice.
“I do know that people are going to be gunning for us,” Roberts said. “I welcome that challenge and the girls welcome that challenge, too. We’re ready to go.”
Goddard has had to replace Tori Price, and coach Roberts has used Sidney Bills in the middle and freshman Sophia Valdez, as well.
“We should have taken care of the first set,” Roswell coach Heather Baca said. “Unfortunately, that’s part of being an inexperienced team that we’re having trouble finishing. I thought we played pretty well until the last four or five points in the first set. We kind of errored our way out of that. Goddard is a good team and I expect them to play for the state title.”
Baca feels good about how her team continues to make improvements with each set, game and match. In the game against Goddard, the team hit in the positive instead of the negative as they have hit in their other games.
“Our goal is to keep improving,” Baca said. “We want to continue to get better so that when it comes time for district, we won’t make these mistakes. We’re working toward that and we have to have improvement every time we step on the court. That’s our goal to be ready by district.”
Goddard travels to Santa Fe for a tournament on Friday.
Roswell will be at home on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. when they take on Lovington.
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or firstname.lastname@example.org.