Lady Tigers place second in Belen Tournament
Bloomfield gets swept in road match-up with Los Alamos
FARMINGTON — Just a week into the season, the Aztec volleyball team already appears to be in mid-season form.
Coach Anna Strauss' Lady Tigers played in the Belen Tournament on Friday and today and more than held their own in the round-robin format. In pool play Friday, Aztec earned second place to punch its ticket into today's semifinals, which the Lady Tigers won over Taos, 25-21, 25-17, 25-11.
That set up a finals match with Moriarty this afternoon, a match that Aztec lost in straight sets, 25-18, 25-21, 25-12. Strauss said the Lady Fighting Pintos were crafty around the net.
"We have girls up front that can really block, and I think Moriarty knew that," Strauss said. "Their girls got a lot of tips and did a lot of off-speed stuff with the ball to get points. They're a great team for a reason."
Strauss said she's more than pleased with the second-place finish.
"The girls are off to a great start," she said. "It's very early in the season to be playing this good of volleyball."
Senior middle blocker Vanessa Chavez and sophomore setter Myra McCaskill earned all-tournament honors for their elite performances over the weekend.
Aztec gets some time off before playing next at Los Lunas on Sept. 6.
Los Alamos 3, Bloomfield 0
The Lady Bobcats were also on the road today, where they were swept for the second time in as many matches this season.
Bloomfield lost 3-0 to Navajo Prep at home on Thursday and again fell by that score against Los Alamos. The scores were 25-22, 25-15, 25-21 in favor of the Lady Hilltoppers.
Bloomfield coach Rae Collins said she was impressed by how well her girls communicated and hustled, but acknowledged they're going to have to play a little better to get over the hump.
"We fought back a little bit, but we also lost about a five-point lead today," Collins said. "We have to get to that place where we play a little bit more consistently in those pressure situations, like when we have a lead. We've got to close teams out when we have the opportunity."
The Lady Bobcats battled out of a 5-0 hole in the first set to make it close before losing and later blew their own five-point lead in the third set. Still, Collins said her team took some baby steps this afternoon.
"Los Alamos has been in 5A, and we're new to the district, so that says a lot," she said.
A Tuesday tilt against Shiprock at the Chieftain Pit is next on Bloomfield's schedule.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.