FARMINGTON — A raucous crowd welcomed the Navajo Prep Lady Eagles to their volleyball season opener on Tuesday night.
Navajo Prep hosted Shiprock in a competitive match that went four games at the Eagle's Nest Gymnasium. The two teams were tied at a game apiece with Navajo Prep winning the opening game 25-21 and Shiprock taking the second 25-23, but Navajo Prep won the third and fourth games 25-23 and 25-18 to take its first win of the year.
"We needed this game to start our season off. For our very first game, we needed this type of quality opponent to see where we are this early in the season," said Prep head coach Rainy Crisp. "The girls came out very pumped up and ready to play after two weeks of practice."
Sophomore Jasmine Coleman stole the show with 14 kills, 18 assists and six blocks for the Lady Eagles (1-0).
The game was played in front of a large crowd that came out to support both teams.
"It was good to have a loud gym tonight," Crisp said. "It really helped the girls pull out the win in the third game. We got down but picked it back up and won by two. To see the competitiveness and will to win from our girls was great to see this early in the season."
Shiprock head coach Rae Collins said the noise in the gym helped expose a weakness her team needs to work on.
"It gave the girls experience. They need to be able to still play and talk in an environment like that. We don't get that kind of noise in practice and our other games haven't had that big of a crowd," Collins said. "The crowd helped the girls realize they need to communicate better. In the second game, we did that. In the third and fourth, our communication went out the door. My setters were telling me they couldn't hear the hitters. It gives me something to remind them of what they need to work on in practice."
Katura Garcia led Shiprock with seven kills. Melyssa Harwood and Ashley John each added six kills. Tanisha Begay finished with five kills.
Collins was without two players and experimented with her rotations on Tuesday, but said the girls she put in new positions stepped up to the challenge well.
Navajo Prep plays again tonight at Rio Rancho against the Rams' junior varsity squad. Shiprock (0-3) is off until Thursday when it hosts Window Rock.
"Each game is a learning experience. We have a young team and we are trying to find our groove," Collins said.
Piedra Vista 3, Gallup 0
The Lady Panthers were anxious to get on the court for the first game of their 2013 volleyball season, but it didn't take long for the game to end.
Piedra Vista (1-0) defeated Gallup (0-1) in just three games, winning 25-9, 25-6 and 25-15.
"The girls played really strong. We kept it on our side of the court and played our game," said PV head coach Ron Becker.
Samantha Sofka led the Lady Panthers with 13 kills in the game. Nianna Alcon had another five kills while Brittney Hutchison had four. Vanessa Harris had 23 assists.
"The girls were all excited to play the first game and get it going. It was a good warm up match for us," Becker said.
PV is back in action next Tuesday against Bayfield.
"That is going to be a tough game. Bayfield has a 6-foot-5 girls and they have a new head coach who is my club director on our club team," Becker said. "We have them at home first and then again later in the season at their place."
Miyamura 3, Bloomfield 0
A young Lady Bobcat volleyball team was unable to win its home opener.
Bloomfield fell to Miyamura 25-11, 25-20 and 26-24 on Tuesday at Bobcat Gymnasium.
"Our youthfulness showed, but we can only get better," said Bloomfield head coach Tami Bekes. "Communication is always key and we need to improve in that area. I am proud of the effort they put forth. With each set there was improvement."
Bekes said Tashai Werito showed good leadership as she turned in 13 assists and two kills. Shania Gallegos led the team with four kills.
Bloomfield plays again on Thursday at Aztec.
Aztec 10, Bloomfield 0
The Aztec Lady Tigers remained unbeaten with another win on Tuesday.
The Lady Tigers (5-0) had no problem taking care of Bloomfield (0-3) 10-0 at home.
Eight girls scored for Aztec in the game with Hailey Morris and Rikki Newland each scoring two goals. Morris also had two assists in the game.
Also scoring for Aztec was Kayli Farmer, Sierra Lanier, Paige Adair, Lacy Garcia, Emiley McDonald and Jessica Kresl. Tezz Hernandez had two assists while Adair, Kresl, Lanier and Kassia Barber all had one assist.
"It feels good to be winning games, but there are still a lot of things we need to work on as a team and get better at," Aztec head coach Stephen Parks said after the win. "We need to continue to improve and stay focused if we want to continue to have the success we are having."
Aztec led just 2-0 at halftime, which pleased Bloomfield head coach Kate Dunlap.
"In the first half, the girls played pretty well. We were hustling and our defense was unstoppable," Dunlap said. "I think the girls just got a little cocky and ahead of themselves and lost it all in the second half."
Bloomfield also had five injuries in the game, giving the Lady Bobcats no bench to work with.
"The injuries are hurting the team. A lot of girls have injuries from past seasons and they keep getting re-injured over and over again," Dunlap said.
Bloomfield is off until next Tuesday when it plays Miyamura. Aztec is in action again Friday at home against Belen.
John Livingston covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.