PV wins tourney for first time in three years

Karl Schneider
kschneider@daily-times.com
  • PV's Bebe Jaquez served for 20 straight points in semifinal match
  • Kirtland Central, Navajo Prep finished fourth and fifth
  • Lady Panthers landed four players on all-tourney team

FARMINGTON — The Piedra Vista volleyball team was near perfect this weekend, winning the PV Invitational for the first time in three years.

Piedra Vista's Stephanie Schmidt spikes the ball against Kirtland Central on Sept. 10 at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse in Farmington.

The Lady Panthers rolled through pool play Friday to earn a spot in the gold bracket, then swept Kirtland Central and Arizona’s Ganado today to win the title.

PV coach Ron Becker said the way the Lady Panthers are playing right now has him confident that they’ll be able to compete with the top teams in 6A this season after stepping up from 5A a year ago.

“I was really proud of how steady and smooth they were,” PV coach Ron Becker said of his team. “I’m really excited about the way they’re playing. I really feel like we have a good shot to be in the top group.”

PV opened the day against KC, and the match’s outcome was all but determined before the Lady Broncos registered their first point.

With a 1-0 lead, PV senior Bebe Jaquez stepped to the service line and guided the Lady Panthers to a 21-0 lead.

“I’ve never seen that in my life in a varsity game, someone doing that and jump serving especially. Twenty points in a row — that was incredible,” Becker said.

Piedra Vista's Bebe Jaquez records a kill against Ganado, Ariz., during the championship match of the Piedra Vista Invitational on Saturday at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse in Farmington.

PV kept rolling through the match with KC, winning 25-3, 25-15 and 25-10 to advance to the final.

In the final against Ganado, PV took a quick 5-1 lead behind another strong serving performance from Jaquez, then rolled to a 25-6 win in the first set after senior Elli Wright took over the set with powerful kill after kill.

The Lady Panthers rolled to a 25-10 win in the second set, then faced a bit of adversity in the third set before rallying late for a 26-24 win.

Ganado led for the majority of the third set while the Lady Panthers fell out of rhythm. Trailing 20-16, the Lady Panthers went on a 10-4 run, getting key kills from Jaquez, Wright and sophomore Courtney Moore to close out the set and secure the win.

Piedra Vista's Rebekah Eaves digs the ball during a match against Ganado, Ariz., on Saturday at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse in Farmington.

“Nobody is a huge standout, and everyone contributes. It makes it nice because teams can’t key in on one player and focus on shutting down one player, they have to focus on everybody. The more we can spread it around, the more it will help. And (setter) Kamryn (Gordon) is doing a great job delivering the ball.”

In the third-place match, KC couldn’t get out of its own way and fell to Arizona’s Monument Valley 25-14, 25-14, 21-25 and 25-14.

After the lopsided losses in the first and second sets, the Lady Broncos started clicking in the third set. MV led the majority of the match, but the Lady Broncos kept it close and never trailed by more than a few points. Down 20-18 in the set, KC put together a 7-1 run to force the fourth set.

But in the fourth set, the Lady Mustangs retook control, jumping out to an early lead and holding on for the win.

“I honestly couldn’t tell you what happened today. We played well and played together (Friday), and today they just froze,” KC coach Nadia Watson said of KC’s lopsided losses. “In the third set (against MV) they came together and everyone did their part. We need to eliminate our mistakes and our errors.”

Navajo Prep won the Silver Bracket, beating PV’s junior varsity squad then topping Dulce 25-21, 25-21 and 25-11 to finish fifth at the tournament.

Navajo Prep's Necole Begay spikes the ball during a match against Wingate on Friday at the Piedra Vista Invitational at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse in Farmington.

“We’re all pretty satisfied with how we did at this tournament,” Prep coach Rainy Crisp said. “The girls really stepped up and challenged every team. It was a great tournament for us because it showed us how great we can be when we play together, and it also showed how horrible things can get when we don’t. We saw both ends of it, and at the end of the tournament, we did a good job coming together as a team.”

After losing to Dulce in four sets, Farmington beat PV’s junior varsity squad in four sets to place seventh at the tournament.

Aztec beat Bloomfield to place ninth.

PV’s Gordon, Jaquez, Moore and Rebekah Eaves earned spots on the all-tournament team. Martinique Larvingo and Diamond Jones landed on the all-tourney team for Prep, and were joined by Aztec’s Vanessa Chavez and KC’s Talia Ockerman.

Ganado’s Jaelynn Curley and Michelene Coleman, and MV’s Kaylee Begay and Ki-Anna McCabe rounded out the team.

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