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FARMINGTON — Navajo Prep's volleyball team made its way through pool play Thursday with relative ease and earned a bye into the quarterfinals of the 3A state volleyball tournament.

The Lady Eagles opened pool play at 8 a.m. Thursday in Rio Rancho and narrowly beat Estancia in the first set 27-26. After the close call, Prep rolled through the rest of day, beating Estancia 25-15 in the second set and then cruising past Tularosa 25-14, 25-16.

“We had some trouble with our 8 a.m. game. Estancia came out ready to play. They did some great things, but we were just giving away points,” Prep head coach Rainy Crisp said. “But the girls pulled it out and got back on track after that.”

Crisp said the team’s defense, particularly on the front row, was the difference for the Lady Eagles.

“It was more a team effort than anything. We had great defense,” she said. “I had Jasmine Coleman, LeShauntai (Adams) and Martinique Larvingo up front today, and they had some great blocks and played well on the front row.”

Prep will play Santa Fe Prep in the quarterfinals Friday at 11:30 a.m.

Piedra Vista advanced to the 5A quarterfinals with an impressive 27-29, 25-19, 25-14, 25-23 win over Albuquerque Academy in the first round Thursday in Rio Rancho.

The first round win came after the Lady Panthers finished second in pool C. In pool play Thursday morning, PV dispatched of Artesia, and after allowing Centennial to come back and win the first set, the Lady Panthers split the match with a 27-26 win in the second set.

“That was a really big confidence builder for the girls,” PV head coach Ron Becker said of the Centennial match.

Becker said the entire team stepped up during the day, led by the trio of Autumn Begay, Bebe Jaquez and Hannah Robinson.

PV will now face Los Lunas at 9:45 a.m. Friday.

“We played them in the finals of the Santa Fe tournament (on Sept. 19), but we didn’t play very well at all,” Becker said. “The good thing is we know some stuff about them, and we’re not going in blind.”

Kirtland Central and Shiprock saw their seasons come to an end Thursday.

After a strong start to the day in pool play — beating Shiprock 2-0 and splitting with No. 1 seed Sandia Prep 1-1 — Kirtland Central couldn’t keep things going in the first round of the 4A state volleyball tournament.

The Lady Broncos’ season ended with a lopsided 25-6, 25-14, 25-12 loss to Portales on Thursday in Rio Rancho.

“I’m just so proud of my girls,” KC head coach Nadia Watson said, adding extra praise to the seniors on the team. “We really couldn’t have done it without them. They accomplished a lot and really stepped up for me and showed the younger girls what they could accomplish. I’m super proud of them. It’s a tough loss, but I couldn’t have done my job without them.”

Watson said the biggest difference between the team’s performance in pool play and the first round was its ability to block at the net.

After finishing third in pool A, Shiprock met familiar foe Wingate in the first round.

The two sides met three times during the season, with the Lady Bears winning twice. And with the season on the line, Shiprock couldn’t get the edge and fell 25-10, 25-21, 23-25, 25-19.

Shiprock head coach Teri Atcitty could not be reached for comment by press time.

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.

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