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Lady Eagles hold off Gallup in five sets

Karl Schneider
kschneider@daily-times.com

FARMINGTON — At times this season, the Navajo Prep volleyball team hasn’t had the mental fortitude to pull out close matches.

Volleyball

A lack of mental toughness was evident during their match with Gallup, but in the end, the Lady Eagles persevered to earn a victory in five sets — 25-16, 25-23, 16-25, 18-25 and 15-9 — tonight in Gallup.

After taking the first set with ease, the Lady Eagles (5-3) were in control for the start of the second set. But late in the set, Prep coach Rainy Crisp said the Lady Bengals (3-2) began putting good swings on the ball and stole the momentum.

“It’s huge that we try to correct that right now so we understand that even though we won the second set, we lost the momentum,” Crisp said. “We have to learn to put teams away from the beginning. Once we give a team some hope, it’s hard to get back in control. We have the players. They’re very athletic, and they have the talent. It’s the mental side that’s blocking us.”

During the final stretch of the second set, and in the third and fourth sets, Crisp said the Lady Eagles hung their heads before adjusting in the fifth and focusing on individual possessions and rallies instead of worrying about the match as a whole.

The Lady Eagles spread the production around the court in the win with junior Martinique Larvingo getting in on all the action, registering 13 assists, 10 kills and 10 blocks. Tiana Sandoval led the team with 17 assists, while Necole Begay paced the team with 12 kills and Diamond Jones recorded 20 digs.

Prep will host Dulce on Tuesday. Prep beat the Lady Hawks (6-1) in the final of the Silver Bracket at the Piedra Vista Invitational on Saturday.

“It will be another fun game. We have a rivalry with Dulce, and it’s always competitive,” Crisp said. “Playing Dulce in the Silver Bracket at the PV Invite was very competitive, and we know playing them on Tuesday is going to be the same, if not more intense. Dulce brings a big crowd — they’re loud, and they support their team. We’re going to have to be mentally tough.”

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