Roswell volleyball continues to dominate in volleyball in District 4-5A. Once again, coach Heather Baca did her best work with seniors. Last season Baca played with nine seniors. With those seniors she won the district title in Roswell’s first year in 5A. By winning district, Baca was chosen District 4-5A Coach of the Year.
Coming into the 2019 season, Baca had to replace nine seniors. Roswell only had three seniors with varsity playing experience — which makes having a starting team make all-district all the more remarkable.
Coach Baca’s hope was that her team would get better each practice and match. Her goal was that the team would be playing good volleyball by the time district came. The team went 5-1 in district.
This season was made more special because she had the opportunity to coach her daughter, Jalen Baca, for the final time in her career. It all came together for the Lady Coyotes, and for both Bacas. Jalen Baca was named District 4-5A Player of the Year.
Coach Baca placed three first-teamers on the team, along with three second-teamers.
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On the first team were seniors Baca, Karissa Mesquita and Makenzie Tarin. On the second team were seniors Rael Gonzalez, Ashley Sanchez and Samantha Williams.
One of the biggest surprises this season for the Lady Coyotes was Williams. Williams suffered a leg injury her junior campaign and missed the whole season. Williams did not start playing her best volleyball until the middle of the season. Williams was the height and presence at the net Roswell needed.
The Lady Coyotes started slow and it took time to develop and they seemed to have a lock on the district regular season title for the second year in a row. In a game near the end of the season, Roswell was upset by Hobbs to tie with them, 5-1. Hobbs ended up winning the regular season crown.
“I enjoyed watching Jalen Baca and all of our seniors,” coach Baca said, “compete and lead their team this season.”
Roswell’s seniors and team showed their mettle, as they had to defeat Hobbs in the tournament championship. Roswell had their game faces on and stomped Hobbs in three straight games at Hobbs to earn their way into the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year, the second straight year in 5A.
“Being able to help a group of young ladies,” Heather Baca said, “getting them to buy into a set goal they weren’t sure they could accomplish, and then seeing them accomplish it is one of those really rewarding moments in coaching.”
Jalen Baca is not only District 4-5A Player of the Year, but she also was named to the All-Regional team and voted to play in the North-South All Star contest. Jalen Baca was key on defense with over 645 digs on the season. She will continue her playing career at NMMI.
“I was not expecting the award,” Jalen Baca said. “It is a great way to end my high school volleyball career. I’m very honored to have been chosen.”
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or firstname.lastname@example.org.