FARMINGTON — The Piedra Vista volleyball team has been searching for more intensity in its matches through the first half of the season, and the Lady Panthers were forced to find it Thursday night against their crosstown rival.
The Lady Panthers (9-4, 2-0) went into Farmington’s Scorpion Gym during the hosts' homecoming week and battled a raucous crowd and resilient Lady Scorps team for a 25-16, 27-15, 22-25, 25-23 victory.
“It’s definitely good and that was a great match. That makes it exciting and fun for everybody,” Becker said of the energetic environment. “It’s good for us to play through the adversity. Farmington stepped up and played really well. They fought hard and played with a lot of heart.”
Throughout the night, Farmington (6-5, 0-1) had trouble against PV’s up-tempo offense, and time and time again quick sets from the PV offense to hitter Autumn Begay resulted in kills for the Lady Panthers.
With a 24-23 edge in the fourth set, PV called timeout to set up the game-winning point. Becker drew up the play to give Begay another quick kill attempt that had been successful all night and the senior came through with a hard kill to secure the win.
“Believe it or not, that was exactly what I called,” Becker said of the winning play. “Autumn would normally go on the backside for that, but I had her come around to the front, and they did it exactly like I wanted. That was a critical play, and I’m proud of them for coming through with all the pressure on to make a big play.”
Farmington head coach Dan Hickman said the speed PV plays with was the biggest challenge for his team.
“That’s our weak spot right now,” Hickman said. “Our outside game is working for us, but if we’re going to play with them in our next game, we’re going to have to correct it. I think overall, their finesse and speed got us.”
Farmington will host Los Alamos (8-4) in nondistrict play Saturday.
PV will play at Gallup (3-7, 1-1) on Tuesday.
Gallup 3, Aztec 1
Injuries took their toll on Aztec and the Lady Tigers (3-8, 0-2) fell to Gallup (3-7, 1-1) 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 25-23 Thursday night in Gallup.
Aztec head coach Anna Strauss said the Lady Tigers lost two players to ankle injuries during the match.
“(We) played tough, but had too many hitting errors and close calls,” Strauss said. “The kids played aggressive, just didn’t get any breaks.”
Aztec will play at West Las Vegas (7-1) on Tuesday in a nondistrict match.
Kirtland Central 3, Thoreau 0
Kirtland Central (6-3, 2-0 District 1-4A) came out on fire against Thoreau (2-8, 0-1) and finished the match in three sets 25-9, 25-12, 25-17 Thursday night in Thoreau.
“My girls came to play today. They were firing on all cylinders,” Kirtland Central head coach Nadia Watson said.
Watson said senior hitter Krystal Sheka led the Lady Broncos’ attack while the team as a whole passed the ball well.
The Lady Broncos play a nondistrict match on the road against Gallup on Saturday before getting back into their district schedule with matches next week against defending district champ Wingate and longtime rival Shiprock.
“We can’t look forward,” Watson said of the Gallup match. “We have Wingate next in district, then Shiprock. My girls are ready for Wingate, but we can’t look forward and past Gallup.”
Shiprock 3, Bloomfield 1
Shiprock (7-3, 1-0) and Bloomfield (4-6, 0-2) battled it out for four sets, and in the end, the Lady Chieftains held off the Lady Bobcats 25-21, 25-23, 15-25, 25-19 Thursday night at the Chieftain Pit in Shiprock.
“They were able to adjust to changes,” Shiprock head coach Teri Atcitty said of her team. “We lost setter in first set, so we had to switch around the rotation, but they were able to adjust.”
Bloomfield head coach Rae Collins said her team did a good job of playing its style to keep the sets close.
“They were able to play their game, and that’s how we were able to stay with (Shiprock),” Bloomfield head coach Rae Collins said. “Last time we played them, they beat us in three, so tonight it was good to see the improvement.”
Shiprock and Bloomfield will both be back in action Tuesday. Shiprock will play at Zuni (3-8, 1-1), while Bloomfield hosts Thoreau (4-6, 0-2).
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.