Shiprock edges Kirtland Central in four sets

Karl Schneider
  • Navajo Prep holds off Dulce in four sets.
  • PV overcomes slow start to best Bayfield, Colo.
  • Aztec falls on the road to Española Valley.

FARMINGTON — The Shiprock volleyball team put away its biggest rival for the second time this season, dispatching of Kirtland Central in four sets tonight at the Chieftain Pit in Shiprock.

Shiprock's Tanisha Begay hits the ball during a game against Kirtland Central on Tuesday at the Chieftain Pit.

The Lady Chieftains — who swept KC 3-0 on Sept. 1 at the Bronco Arena in Kirtland — held off the Lady Broncos 25-23, 25-22, 19-25 and 25-22.

“It’s always a hostile environment when you go to Shiprock,” KC coach Nadia Watson said. “They always have a big crowd, and it’s tough to win in Shiprock, but it comes down to us trying to figure out our mistakes. Errors really killed us tonight. We have to figure out how to limit our errors, especially in close matches.”

Watson said the Lady Broncos’ back row of Shania John, Tiana Aspaas and Avery Begay did a great job passing the ball to set up kill opportunities for their hitting counterparts, but too often the KC front row hit the ball out of bounds or into the net.

Shiprock and KC will play at the Monument Valley Invite in Kayenta, Ariz., this weekend.

“We’re going to work on limiting our errors and try to build some confidence,” Watson said. “Our play is a lot like a rollercoaster. We’ll be playing really well and be on a high, then have an error and we hang our heads. We need to keep our emotions in check.”

Kirtland Central's Shania John passes the ball during a game against Shiprock on Tuesday at the Chieftain Pit.

Shiprock coach Teri Atcitty could not be reached for comment.

Navajo Prep 3, Dulce 1

The Navajo Prep volleyball team has started to find its mental toughness, and their resolve was evident in tonight’s narrow win over Dulce.

The Lady Eagles battled back from set-point deficits during the night to edge Dulce 26-24, 26-24, 19-25 and 25-22 at the Eagles Nest.

“The girls did well. We’re getting better and playing mentally stronger,” Prep coach Rainy Crisp said. “In both the first two sets, I think we were down 18-24 and were able to come back and win. It’s good to see the girls play at that level where they don’t get down on themselves.”

Crisp said Necole Begay had a breakout performance for the Lady Eagles, finishing the night with 8 aces and 12 kills, and stepped up her performance when the team fell into a slump.

Prep will play at the Monument Valley Invite in Kayenta, Ariz., this weekend. Crisp said the main focus of the tournament will be fine tuning the team’s serves and serve receiving as the Lady Eagles prepare for the start of the District 1-4A schedule.

Piedra Vista 3, Bayfield, Colo., 1

The Piedra Vista volleyball team overcame a slow start to beat Bayfield, Colo., 22-25, 25-20, 25-14 and 25-19 tonight at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse.

“We started off really slow the first set,” PV coach Ron Becker said. “Bayfield serves really very, very tough, so that took us out of our system quite a bit. We had to make some adjustments, and when we did make the adjustments the play turned around and we did a lot better.”

Becker said one of the biggest differences, along with receiving Bayfield’s serves better, was solidifying the front row and blocking the kill attempts from the Lady Wolverines.

Elli Wright led the Lady Panthers with 19 kills.

“She hits smart. She didn’t hit straight down the middle of the court,” Becker said of Wright. “She understands how to hit it off the block and the sides of (defenders’) hands. It’s a lot tougher to dig the ball coming off of a block, and she’s really started to do that. I think that has given her a big advantage and helped her get a lot of kills.”

PV will be off until Sept. 30, when the Lady Panthers host Cibola in their District 1-6A opener.

Española Valley 3, Aztec 1

The Aztec volleyball team couldn’t find a way to get past Española Valley (6-3), falling to the Lady Sundevils 25-20, 14-25, 25-23, 26-24 tonight in Española.

Aztec will host Pagosa Springs, Colo., (8-1) on Thursday.

Aztec coach Anna Strauss could not be reached for comment.

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