Home Sports Local Sports Smyth’s first season, first championship

Smyth’s first season, first championship

The 1982 Class 4A state champion Goddard Rockets volleyball team. Top row, from left, Hayden Hill, assistant coach; Veronica Villegas (8); Mitzi Day (5); Robyn Farley (10); Jana McDaniel (7); and Judy Smyth, head coach. Middle row, from left, Kelly Nellis (1); Tina Trujillo (12); Beverly Casaus (4); Laurie Tydlaska (9); and Lazaro Garcia, manager. Bottom row, from left, Gerri DeLorimiere (3); Dory Grado (6); and Lora Langston (2). (Submitted Photo)

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Sports Editor’s note: Covering this story and writing about the young ladies that helped make the Goddard volleyball team into the Team of the Decade in the 1980s was more than we could fit in one edition, so this will be the second story in a multi-part series.

With an assist from coach Judy Smyth and her recollections of the games and events that made things meaningful to her and the help of past editions of the RDR Sports pages, we tried to reconstruct the time and the games for you, the fans.

Today, we look at the 1982 championship season and game, culminating with the ‘89 team in later editions.

In her first year at Goddard in 1982, all Smyth did was start coaching. Goddard was not favored to do much. The team had 10 seniors and one junior, Dory Grado. At the end of the year, Smyth moved freshman Tina Trujillo up to varsity. Smyth felt the key to the season was in how well the players worked together.

In ‘82, Roswell was the powerhouse of volleyball at the time. Goddard upset Roswell midway through the season with a 15-10, 8-15 and 15-7 at home. Goddard ended up beating Roswell at Roswell, 12-15, 15-12 and 15-7 later in the year. Goddard would defeat Roswell in the district championship 15-12, 15-12.

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Goddard made it to the state, where the media and people were predicting a Santa Fe-Alamogordo final.

Goddard played and defeated a Valley team they had not faced before in the season. Goddard won the first game with the serving of Beverly Casaus and the defense of Kelly Nellis in the first game. They lost the second game, 9-15, and were down 11-5 in this game, but managed to pull out the win 15-13.

In the second round, Goddard faced undefeated Santa Fe Demons, who were favored to win the tournament. Goddard was down 7-12 and started attacking with Jana McDaniel, Tina Trujillo and Mitzi Day, to win 15-12 and 15-12.

In the championship game, Goddard met the other favorite to win the title, the Alamogordo Tigers. Goddard lost the first match 11-15 but won the second,15-12.

One of the key moments of the final game against the Tigers was when Goddard ran out of subs. Dory Grado was left in and the team missed the cue from Smyth to shift Grado over. Grado at 5-foot was in the center and went up against Santa Fe’s 5-foot-11 Jamie Soistman.

Soistman goes up and hits the ball, and there falls a hush over the arena. Silence. Dead silence, with everyone waiting on the referee’s call. It wasn’t until the official blew his whistle and pointed to Goddard giving them momentum as Goddard closed out Alamogordo, 15-13 to earn their second title in three years and the first under Smyth in her first year.

“Grado just jumped right out of her skin,” Smyth said. “The Soistman kid didn’t really get that great of a set really. She hit it right off the top of the net and my kid just blocked her. That was the season.”

To Smyth the team was close. She feels like they worked together really well and loved each other. The team had been playing together and clicked together. During her first year, Smyth said the only difference between her and Allen was the way the defense was set up. Smyth felt her coaching style was that of a teacher and encourager.

“I was shocked when we won it my first year,” Smyth said.

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