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Lady Bobcats win fourth game in six tries under new head coach

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BLOOMFIELD — For the second time in five days, the Bloomfield volleyball team swept Bernalillo.

The hosts faced little resistance from the Lady Spartans, winning in straight sets by scores of 25-20, 25-11 and 25-18 tonight at Bobcat Gym in Bloomfield.

Bloomfield (4-5) burned Bernalillo by the same score on Saturday during the Santa Fe Invitational.

After getting off to an 0-3 start this season, Lady Bobcats head coach Rae Collins resigned from the position. Sunni Baird took over the gig prior to a Sept. 9 match against Grants, and she has led the team to a 4-2 record and three straight wins.

Baird, who gets as fired up as her players do from the sideline, feels like she and the team are getting increasingly familiar with each other, and that's contributed to the turnaround.

"I think it just took a little while to get used to each other, personality wise," Baird said. "I'm a little crazy, and they had to get used to that right away. But we're starting to mesh, and I'm excited."

Bloomfield and Class 4A's Bernalillo (1-10) felt each other out to start, trading leads for the early part of the opening set before the Lady Bobcats went on an 11-2 run to spark the win. Shaylee Charley's four kills and Elena Florez's 11 assists led the way in the first set.

After mowing the Lady Spartans down by 14 points in set two, Baird's team ran into a little bit of trouble in the third, due mostly to unforced errors. Down 13-12, the coach called a timeout, and it did wonders.

"I told them that this was their house, and they needed to make sure that they defended their house," Baird said. "I told them to take it to (Bernalillo) and be aggressive."

The Lady Bobcats outscored the visitors 13-6 from that point on.

Natasha Largo kept a lot of volleys alive with 15 digs in the third set. She finished with 39 in the match.

The road gets a little rougher for Bloomfield next time out, when Miyamura (5-5) comes into Bobcat Gym to open the district schedule on Tuesday.

Pagosa Springs, Colo., 3, Aztec 0 

Aztec was denied a single set win tonight but played some very competitive volleyball against Pagosa Springs, Colo.

The Lady Pirates (9-1) flexed their muscles in the 3-0 sweep, besting Aztec 25-15, 25-20, 25-21 at Lillywhite Gym.

Lady Tigers (4-6) coach Anna Strauss said she thinks Pagosa's balance is what makes it great.

"They're big all the way around — they have some big hitters in all slots," Strauss said. "They weren't one sided, and it seemed like they were pretty strong at everything."

Strauss made a major adjustment prior to the match, swapping the positions of Myra McCaskill and Karly Phillips. McCaskill moved into the libero role and Phillips took her teammate's place as Aztec's setter.

The chemistry was there, Strauss said, and she's encouraged about the versatility her players flashed.

"They did a great job, there was a lot more hustle and we got a lot more balls up," the coach said. "It's good to know we have some variety. That'll help out in district."

Aztec hosts Kirtland Central (0-5) on Tuesday.

Cleveland 3, Farmington 0 

The Lady Scorpions were swept in a road match against 6A's Cleveland tonight.

The last stop on Farmington's nondistrict schedule didn't go well for coach Alana Rowland and the Lady Scorps, who fell 25-19, 25-10, 25-9.

Rowland sad it was all downhill after a back-and-forth first set.

"(We) played really well in the first set but lost our focus in sets two and three and just couldn't pass," Rowland said in a text message. "Couldn't dig ourselves out of the hole."

Farmington finished with 13 kills. Jadyn Curry was at the top in that category with four. Lexie Jackson put together a decent all-around effort with 13 digs and two aces.

The Lady Scorps open up district play on the road at Gallup (3-3) on Tuesday.

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577. 

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