For at least this one rainy night, the fifth-set demons that have haunted the Volcano Vista High School volleyball team were exorcised.
Led by the final-set hitting and serving of sophomore Olivia Dixson, the Hawks won their District 1-6A opener on Wednesday night, outlasting visiting Rio Rancho.
The Hawks (6-4 overall) won the final two sets. The final match score was 25-16, 12-25, 23-25, 25-20 and 15-9.
Three of Volcano Vista’s four losses have been in five sets, and the Hawks were 0-3 in five-setters prior to Wednesday.
“It was huge,” said junior libero Kamryn Lopez of the victory. “This game brought a lot of positives to our group.”
Eldorado, La Cueva and Cleveland all had solved Volcano Vista in the fifth set earlier this season. The Hawks steeled themselves so it wouldn’t happen again.
“Honestly,” said Dixson, “I felt like we fought a lot more and played a lot more as a team.”
And the Hawks’ prospects for ending that streak didn’t appear all that good, not after the Rams won the first four points of that fifth set on a block by Brooke Barbour, tips by Ashley Chelius and Cerion Mosely, and a four-hit possession by Volcano Vista.
It was Dixson who provided the spark — and then the much-needed separation — with consecutive kills to even the set at six points apiece, and later another kill and an ace for a 10-7 lead.
“I think we just increased our energy level,” said Lopez. “And we played more efficient on our feet.”
Dixson led Volcano Vista with 13 kills. Mikayla Miller added 11 kills and Lopez dug 22 balls.
“We’ve had a lot of five setters,” Volcano Vista coach Dawn C de Baca said, “and we’re glad it finally swung our way.”
The Rams (4-6, 0-2) could be forgiven if they were a little fatigued. Rio Rancho had its 1-6A opener on Tuesday night, and it was a long five-setter that the Rams lost to rival Cleveland, 18-16 in the final set.
“I think heavy legs and maybe emotionally spent,” Rio Rancho coach Toby Manzanares said of his team in the final two sets on Wednesday night.
Rio Rancho has been streaky this season. The Rams lost their first three matches, won their next four and are now on another three-match losing streak. The Rams, long one of the state’s most respected programs, haven’t been to the state tournament the past two years.
And the schedule isn’t helping, since the Rams turn around and fly out today for Phoenix and the Nike Tournament of Champions, which begins on Friday. Rio Rancho will get four matches combined on Friday and Saturday.
Published: Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 at 11:15pm
Wednesday, September 27th, 2017. BY JAMES YODICE / JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
Piedra Vista's Bebe Jaquez gets a kill past Volcano Vista's Sierra Land on Saturday at Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse in Farmington. (Header Photo: Jesse Hankins/Special to The Daily Times.)
FARMINGTON — The Piedra Vista volleyball team controlled its own destiny coming into today's match against Volcano Vista, but a 3-0 loss means PV has a huge hill to climb in next week's District 1-6A tournament.
PV had a chance to snag its seventh win in district play, a win total no other team in 1-6A reached, but the Lady Panthers (16-4, 6-2) came out flat and were defeated in straight sets by the Lady Hawks (13-5, 6-2) 25-16, 25-20, 25-23.
"It was pretty mental today, I think," PV coach Ron Becker said. "We just couldn't get our heads into it."
VV was helped out by the hosts in the third set, when a slew of uncharacteristic unforced errors assisted the Lady Hawks in jumping out to a 6-2 start. It took a 14-6 score in VV's favor for Becker to call the first timeout of the set. He said he made some adjustments at that point.
"Volcano Vista kept setting their right side a lot, so we made some adjustments on the block," Becker said. "We tried to bunch our block on that side, and it kind of helped a bit. We got some momentum going on our side."
PV chipped away at VV's lead until it was a one-point game. But at match point, ahead 24-23, the Lady Hawks managed one final kill to slash PV's hopes of taking first place in the district.
Bebe Jaquez paced PV in kills with 11 while Kamryn Gordon piled up 30 assists.
Set wins in the regular-season matches between Volcano Vista, Piedra Vista and Cleveland served as the tiebreaker among the top three teams in 1-6A. Since both Cleveland-VV matches went to five sets, those schools came away with eight total set wins, while PV won only seven times in the two season series.
"We basically got punished for winning our matches too quickly," Becker said.
VV and Cleveland play a one-game playoff Tuesday to decide the top seed in the district tourney. Third-place PV will host a 6:30 p.m. game Wednesday against either Cibola or Rio Rancho.
The Lady Panthers face a challenging travel schedule if they are to reach the tourney final. Should they win Wednesday, the Lady Panthers must travel to play the loser of VV-Cleveland on Thursday, and if they win that match, they'll come back to Farmington, then hit the road again on Saturday to play either VV or Cleveland for the district title and automatic state playoff bid.
"It's really sad because if we just won today, we would have been at home for the whole thing," Becker said. "Instead, we have to potentially take two long trips just to be in the final."
Published: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29TH, 2016 AT 6:38 p.m.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29TH, 2016. BY Jake Newby
Lyric Ellison had 16 kills and Volcano Vista rode strong serving and defense to a District 1-6A-opening 3-1 home victory over Cibola. The set scores were 25-15, 25-13, 21-25, 25-21.
Dressed in pink for breast cancer awareness, the Hawks (7-4) came out firing early and led nearly wire to wire in the first two sets. Ellison supplied much of the hitting, while Lauren Wilmert registered five of her six blocks. The Hawks’ back-row play was solid, as well.
“I thought our coverage was really good and that was a big key for us,” VVHS coach Dawn CdeBaca said. “We’d never, ever beaten Cibola, so this is huge for us. I’m really proud of my team.”
The Cougars (8-2) picked up the pace in set three. Hannah Thompson had seven of her 13 kills in the set. Cibola appeared set to force a fifth set, building a 19-12 lead in the fourth behind Aleah Martinez’s strong work at the net.
But the Hawks put together a strong finishing rally, scoring 13 of the final 15 points and closing the match out on a kill by Hallie Simoes.
– Ken Sickenger
LA CUEVA 6, HIGHLAND 0: At Highland, Aaron Otto scored three goals in the first 21 minutes as the Bears routed the Hornets.
BOSQUE SCHOOL 3, SANTA FE PREP 0: At Bosque, Barrett Meigs scored on a penalty kick and made four saves in a shutout to lead the Bobcats.
Aaron McCallister and Roan Conley also scored for Bosque.
SANDIA PREP 1, SANDIA 1: At the APS Soccer Complex, Marco Fernandez scored in the 13th minute for Sandia and Alec Lamberty answered with a goal in the 23rd for the Sundevils as the two teams played to a draw after playing two overtimes.
ABQ. ACADEMY 1, AZTEC 0: At Albuquerque Academy, Rhi Hill scored in the 66th minute off an assist from Isabel Gallegos to lift the Chargers.
LA CUEVA 10, HIGHLAND 0: At the APS Soccer Complex, Jordyn Lacy scored three goals, Noir Hawash scored twice and added an assist and the Bears outshot the Hornets 29-0 in an easy win.
ELDORADO 5, MANZANO 0: At the APS Soccer Complex, Valerie Maestas and Jessie Hix each scored two goals in the Eagles’ win over the Monarchs.
Published: Wednesday, September 30th, 2015 at 12:02am
Updated: Wednesday, September 30th, 2015 at 5:46am
Wednesday, September 30th, 2015. BY ABQJOURNAL NEWS STAFF