Kirtland Central falls to Artesia in state quarterfinals



FARMINGTON — As today’s 5A state quarterfinals match progressed, the Kirtland Central volleyball team struggled to do damage on offense, falling in four sets to second-seeded Artesia in Rio Rancho.

Most kill attempts went off the net or went out of bounds from the second set onward, resulting in 24 attack errors by the eighth-seeded Lady Broncos.

“As time went on, we lost confidence, and it just kind of snowballed,” coach Nadia Begay-Watson said. “We just made silly mistakes on our part by hitting the net. Our errors really hurt us.”

Begay-Watson also said some passes were too close to the net, preventing some extra scoring chances on the hitting end.

Talia Ockerman had 14 kills and 12 digs, while Kambree Pierro had 12 kills and three blocks.

Jasmine John had 14 digs, while Jerica Holiday tallied 27 assists.

KC reached the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2010. Artesia eliminated the Broncos that year, as well.

The Lady Broncos’ season ended at 14-9. KC will say goodbye to seven seniors.

Despite today's outcome, Begay-Watson said she was happy to see her squad reach the state quarterfinals and get a taste of what it will take to win a state title next year and beyond.

"I just hope that this loss really pushes them and motivates them to be better when next season comes around," Begay-Watson said.