Kirtland Central volleyball set to begin postseason at State Volleyball Championships

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

KIRTLAND The Kirtland Central volleyball team, which wrapped up its regular season last weekend with an overall record of 13-9, will be the lone team from San Juan County in this year's State Volleyball Championships, which get underway on Tuesday.

Seedings and brackets were announced Sunday evening by the New Mexico Activities Association. Twelve teams will represent each of the five classifications set to begin the double elimination tournament, which will wrap up Saturday at the Rio Rancho Events Center.

The Broncos, who finished second behind Gallup in District 1-4A with a record of 7-3 in district play, were awarded the 12th seed in the Class 4A tournament and will travel to fifth-seeded Pojoaque Valley to face off with the Elks in a play-in contest. The winner of that matchup will move on to the first round of the tournament to face Gallup.

After Tuesday's play-in round, the state volleyball tournament moves to a double-elimination format for the remaining eight teams in each classification, meaning a team would need to lose twice in the first and second rounds in order to be eliminated from competition.   

The format for the tournament changed following the 2018 volleyball season, when teams met in pool play competition to determine rankings and seedings. 

The Broncos, coached by Nadia Begay-Watson, have been led much of this season by strong play from Teghan Begay, as well as Emilia Clani and Katie Tsosie.

Kirtland Central High School volleyball coach Nadia Begay-Watson goes over instructions with Andrea Thomas (15) and Don’Alyssa  White-David (3) during a timeout in a match with Aztec High School, Thursday, Oct. 14 at Kirtland Central High School

"I know how much work we put in and I'm just glad the work paid off and we get to see some post season playoffs," said Begay-Watson. "I hope the girls put everything they've learned this season and apply it to this match." 

Pojoaque Valley (15-8 overall, 6-2 District 2-4A) is led by juniors Adrianna Rodriguez and Sonya Quintana, who have recorded more than 320 kills combined this season. The Elks also feature Larisa Rodriguez, who has registered 58 blocks on the season.

"The pressure of the postseason is good, and they should welcome it," Begay-Watson said of the opening match. "I'm excited for my girls and know we'll leave it all out on the court."

For complete schedules, brackets and more information on the State Volleyball Championships, check out the NMAA's official website.

Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at SBortstein@Gannett.com, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680.