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SHIPROCK — Mental lapses doomed the Shiprock volleyball team, as the Lady Chieftains fell to Miyamura in straight sets 26-24, 26-24, 25-11 in the championship match of the Set to Kill Tournament Saturday at the Chieftain Pit.

Shiprock head coach Teri Atcitty said her team looked lost on the court.

"I don't know what it was, but they weren't mentally here. I don't know where they were," Atcitty said.

Shiprock started strong, building a 12-6 lead in the first set. The Lady Chieftains (2-1) worked their lead to 24-20, getting strong play from junior hitter Tanisha Begay, but Miyamura (3-0) kept fighting and scored six straight points to win the set 26-24.

"I think (Tanisha Begay) kind of intimidated them at the start," Miyamura head coach David Scott said. "I told them (the Lady Patriots) that they've gone up against hitters like her before and not to back up. They came out of it and stuck together, and that's what I wanted to see."

The second set started similarly, with Shiprock jumping to a 7-1 lead and later holding a 20-15 advantage. But again, the Lady Patriots showed resilience and outscored Shiprock 11-4 down the stretch to take the second set.

"They were tight at the beginning. They were shanking their passes," Scott said of his team. "I told them to relax and play their game. Shiprock was hustling and moving, and I told them (the Lady Patriots), 'They (Shiprock) want it. You have to want it. You have to move and talk and relax.' They took that step, and they stepped up. It was just a little push that they needed to get over that hump."

Scott's advice showed in the third set as his squad jumped to a 12-5 lead to steal the fight from Shiprock. The visitors then cruised to the third-set win with ease.

Atcitty said that in the first two matches of the tournament, her players knew their positions and communicated well, but it all fell apart against Miyamura.

Shiprock will get a chance to bounce back from the tough loss at the Piedra Vista tournament, which begins Friday in Farmington.

Kirtland Central 3, Grants 0

Despite fighting the injury bug, Kirtland Central (2-0) made quick work of Grants (0-4) Saturday afternoon, sweeping the Lady Pirates 25-18, 25-14, 25-14 at the Bronco Arena.

"My girls came to play today. They were ready to go," KCHS head coach Nadia Watson said. "We had kind of a slow start, but they picked it up."

Watson said libero Shania John played well in the win, and senior Alex Cambridge "came through with her serves."

Two starters, a setter and outside hitter, missed the match for KCHS.

The Lady Broncos will be off until Friday, when they head to Farmington to compete in Piedra Vista's annual tournament.

Watson said the level of competition at the PV tournament will show the team where it stacks up against other top competition from around the state.

"Those are the teams we want to compete with," Watson said of the tournament. "I just want my girls to compete and grow together. I think we have a really good chance to have a winning record in pool play and even go pretty far in the tournament. I think this is a good tournament to show what we have."

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648 and kschneider@daily-times.com. Follow him @karltschneider on Twitter.

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