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Hagerman establishes excellence tradition in volleyball

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Hagerman’s championship team plays today at 3 p.m., at Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, NM. (Submitted Photo)

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Hagerman has established excellence in volleyball and that would have everything to do with the seventh-year coach, Monica Morales. Morales has done everything there is to do at Hagerman, from being assistant coach to now head coach.

Morales has done everything at Hagerman except winning the Blue Trophy. She has guided her team to two undefeated seasons in the district, 7-0 in 2013, and 6-0 in 2015. Her team has played in the semifinal game at state.

Morales has compiled a 118-59 regular-season record and her teams always play their best volleyball in the district with a 43-10 record. Morales is a teacher and sees the big picture and she tries to make the Lady Bobcats play their best volleyball in the district. Morales has never had a losing season in her tenure there.

“We don’t do anything out of the norm,” Morales said. “We work hard every day and try to keep things as normal as possible. We emphasize team, believing we can and stay focused on reaching the goals we set at the beginning of the season.

Morales believes that every member of the team has to buy into the team-first concept and be committed. She does that by getting them to work on small goals. It starts in preseason camp and will extend to the games during the season. She feels these small goals, among other things, have been the contributing factors in making it to the playoffs.

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“I think it has been committing to the team,” Morales said. “Working on small goals throughout the match, not trading points, being the first to 10, first to 15, 20 and most importantly for us — finishing — and peaking at the right time. We have learned to commit to practicing hard every day,” she said, “having a better mental approach coming into district and state and buying into the team concept.”

Every year Morales starts with a blank sheet and gives each team member a chance to prove themselves. She knows that she might have to move some players and be patient with others. This year’s team is well-rounded and has some new players but some experienced players have returned.

“We’re a well rounded and more experienced team,” Morales said in assessing her team.

Hagerman played so well this season, that they drew a bye, earning a No. 3 seed. One of the differences in the tournament this year is the double-elimination instead of pool play. Morales seems to be pleased with the seeding that they earned.

“No, we play one point at a time, and one match at a time,” Morales said. “I like the new bracket set up, it gives teams more time to rest in between matches and I’m pleased with our placement in the bracket.”

Morales was chosen as District 2A Coach of the Year for this year.

Hagerman begins their quest for the Blue Trophy today at 3 p.m. at Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho on Court 3.