Home Sports Local Sports Broncos Volleyball wins conference opener over NMJC

Broncos Volleyball wins conference opener over NMJC

NMMI’s Laila Bernardino hits a ball between New Mexico Junior College’s Bella Zen (13) and Lacie Schooley (14) on Wednesday night. (Peter Dindinger Photo/NMMI Sports Press)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

By Peter Dindinger
NMMI Sports Press

HOBBS — Western Junior College Athletic Conference play has finally arrived for volleyball.

The WJCAC opener Wednesday night for the New Mexico Military Institute had plenty of excitement and suspense.

After battling it out point for point in the first two sets against New Mexico Junior College, the Broncos came together to dominate the final set to sweep the match, 28-26, 25-23, 25-19, at the Caster Activity Center.

It was the first meeting between both teams since Sept. 18, 2019, since NMJC’s sports went on a hiatus last school year.

Support Local Journalism
Subscribe to the Roswell Daily Record today.

“I’m just glad that we chose to push at the end of every set so that we could win in three, but we have to get back to our system,” said NMMI head coach Shelby Forchtner. “Our system is serving tough, passing well, being able to use all of our offensive threats and then defending.

“We got lucky that they made some key mistakes in all three sets. We don’t want to win games off of luck, we want to be able to win games off of our talent.”

In the opening set, the Broncos (13-3, 1-0) jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead before the Thunderbirds tied up the set at 4-4.

The score ended up being tied once more until NMJC took a three-point lead.

Marian Ovalle helped cut the deficit down to one later on as the Broncos eventually tied up the score once again and then pushed ahead to a 10-9 lead after a service ace by Katarzyna Niderla.

Just when NMMI thought it had the momentum in its favor, the Thunderbirds surged back to take a 13-10 lead.

The score was tied seven more times in the middle of the set until the Broncos gained a two-point lead.

In the final stretch the lead see-sawed back and forth.

NMJC had a 25-24 lead before Niderla and Laila Bernardino pulled off a solid tandem block to tie up the set at 25-all.

As the momentum continued to shift from one side to another, it was NMMI that got lucky in the end to pull out the 28-26 set victory.

The Thunderbirds (10-6, 0-1) scored three unanswered points to begin the second set before the Broncos tied things up at 3-3.

Breaking a second tie early in the set, NMJC gained a three-point lead.

NMMI once again had to fight its way back to tie the set at 13-13. The Thunderbirds then went on a run to take a five-point lead.

The lead was erased when Ovalle had a service ace to tie up the score at 20-20.

Each team had to endure one more tie in the score before the Broncos survived the set, going on a 5-3 run to win 25-23.

Like night and day, the Broncos looked like a different team in the final set as they went on a 4-0 run that was sparked by a clutch kill by Ovalle to begin the set.

NMMI surged ahead to a six-point lead and never looked back to take the set 25-19.

Ovalle led the Bronco offense with 16 kills while Darcy Dodd added eight. Niderla finished with six kills.

Megan Waghorn aided the offense with 17 assists while Karya Suvarioglu tallied 15.

Up at the net, NMMI tallied 16 block assists. Niderla, Ovalle and Barbara Guedes Rezende each had four apiece.

Mio Yamamoto led the defense with 29 digs while Ovalle finished with 14. Waghorn added to the defensive effort with 13 digs and Dodd had 10.

The 15th-ranked Broncos will have a big test Saturday as they take on defending conference champion Odessa College at 2 p.m. CDT.

“There’s just not a day that we can take off in our conference,” Forchtner said. “Everybody is better from top to bottom this year. We’re not going to have an easy night ever.”

Previous articleEulalia “Lala” Flores Reyes
Next articleRockets host Hobbs; Coyotes in Carlsbad