Home Sports Local Sports Rockets go back-to-back in 1987

Rockets go back-to-back in 1987

The 1987 Class 3A state champion Goddard Rockets volleyball team. Top row, from left, Paige Nunez, manager; Jennifer Floyd (11); Amie Carrigan (10); Sonya Milota (13); Katy Horgan (8); Teresa Ditmore (6); Kelly Harton (12); Christine Mensch (7); and head coach Judy Smyth. Bottom row, from left, Galyn Rodery, trainer; Shandel Burke (14); Jenny McGuire (1); Jennifer Owens (2); Shannon Murphy (9); Twila Bass (4); and Jon Shumard, trainer. Not pictured are assistant coaches Hayden Hill and Debbie Beyhan. (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 1987 championship season and game, culminating with the ‘89 team in later editions.

Coming off a title, Coach Judy Smyth was deeper than at any time she had been the coach at this point at Goddard. With seven seniors, Smyth told the team at the beginning of practice that a different team won the ‘86 title.

“I told them at the beginning of the year, that last year was past, and winning the ‘86 championship didn’t mean anything in ‘87,” Smyth said.

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Goddard would end up going back-to-back in championships. One of Smyth’s worries was that the seniors would have a let down as the season wore on, Smyth said in an interview with Roswell Daily Record sports writer Dennis Pohlman.

“Sometimes a senior will realize they are playing in their last few high school games and try to do too much,” Smyth said. “This team did just the opposite. They played their best volleyball in their last three matches.”

During the season Goddard played an emotional, aggressive style of volleyball. They played in the Roswell Invitational Tournament and beat Ruidoso and Santa Fe before losing to Hot Springs. Goddard finished the season in second place behind Portales. Goddard was forced to play a semifinal 3A match for the first time since joining 3A, in which they beat Tucumcari in straight sets: 15-10, 15-9 and 15-6.

Goddard had to play a grueling match against Portales for the 4A district championship: 15-9, 3-15, 15-13 and 15-8. In the opening round of the state match, Goddard devastated Las Vegas Robertson at Roswell while holding the Cardinals to six points. Smyth credited the fans for turning out as over 500 Goddard students showed up to support their Lady Rockets. Goddard won: 15-1, 15-4 and 15-1.

With some home cooking, Goddard handled Kirtland Central easily, winning 15-1, 15-2 and 15-9. Goddard scored 11 points before the Broncos could get the ball back over the net.

In the championship game, Goddard would have to face district foe Portales in their own gym. Goddard would win the first set, but the Ramettes would win the second match convincingly 3-15. Both teams didn’t want to lose the third game and it showed as they fought for 47 minutes. Goddard would turn back Portales and go back to back giving Smyth four titles in six years.

“It was a real thrill to do it back to back,” Smyth said. “Portales was in a good district and they really pushed us. It was so much fun to do it back to back. The first time we won it at home, I can remember the stands were full of our fans. It was so much fun to do it with the support of the students and the basketball team. That was the most fun, fun time.”

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