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Roswell Lady Coyotes punch ticket to state

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The Roswell Lady Coyotes volleyball team with the District 4-5A trophy after they defeated Hobbs Saturday. (J.T. Keith Photo)

Let’s just say Roswell Lady Coyotes’ coach Heather Baca had her game face on, and it didn’t take long for her to display it. In the second game of the match one official called it a point for Roswell, and another called it out. Baca stormed to the court and asked the official whose call that was — and asked to challenge the call.

Rael Gonzales (5) hits the ball over the net. (J.T. Keith Photo)

Baca was so intense one might have thought it was payday. Payday for the Lady Coyotes to cash in and get to state. It was for the Lady Coyotes, as Baca’s intensity spread throughout the rest of the team. The Lady Coyotes shut out the Hobbs Eagles in straight sets: 25-21, 25-22 and 25-18 on Saturday at Hobbs in the district tournament title game, to prove that their loss on Monday night was a fluke.

“We came ready to play today,” Baca said. “The things that we had worked on to prepare for Hobbs last time, I thought we executed really well today. We passed the ball really well.”

Roswell is now the district tournament champion of 5A and will have a dance card to go to the big dance this week. it will be the fourth consecutive time Baca has guided her team into the hunt for the Blue Trophy.

Nothing is more impressive than what the reigning 5A Coach of the Year has done. She graduated a lot of seniors last year and took a group of players that had not played a lot, outside of a few key players, and has transformed them into a championship team through hard work.

The key to the game was that every time Hobbs would make a run and score three points, Roswell would gather themselves and put a stop to it, and go on a run of their own.

“Our team did a good job of executing the game plan,” Baca said. “We didn’t do as well at that on Monday, but today I thought our team carried it out beautifully.”

Baca has cemented a name for herself as a coach not only in 5A, but throughout New Mexico. She did all of this while being reclassified to a higher class of play. There is still a chance that Baca could win her second Coach of the Year award.

“Our seniors knew it was a do or die situation,” Baca said. “Our seniors really wanted to make the trip to Albuquerque and play at the state tournament. It’s a credit to them because they came prepared and did a really good job of executing today.”

The Lady Coyotes will wait to see where they will be seeded, but no matter where it is, it’s inside the tournament and that’s all that matters. Read RDR Sports on Tuesday for bracket information and later in the week for profiles on Roswell and Goddard for the upcoming state games.

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