Lady Broncos earn first win, sweep FHS 3-0

Karl Schneider
  • Aztec holds off Bloomfield in a three-set thriller to move to 2-0 in District 1-5A.
  • Navajo Prep overcame a slow start against Tohatchi to beat the Lady Cougars in four sets.

FARMINGTON — The Kirtland Central volleyball team breathed a sigh of relief tonight after picking up its first win of the season.

Kirtland Central's Franke  Burns, left, and Nia Nelson block Farmington's Mishael Isaacson on Thursday night at Scorpion Gym.

Throughout the season, KC has struggled to find confidence and close out close sets, but that wasn’t the case for the Lady Broncos in their 25-20, 25-23 and 25-20 win over Farmington at Scorpion Gym.

“It’s long overdue,” KC coach Nadia Watson said of the win. “The girls know we still have some kinks to work out, but for the most part, I think their spirits are up. I think it was an extra boost today to come in here and beat a tough team in a tough place to win. They got their minds right before they came and were prepared mentally.”

KC led for nearly the entire first set. After opening a 12-5 lead, Farmington fought back, cutting the deficit to one or two points on multiple occasions, but the Lady Broncos never relinquished the lead.

In the second set, the Lady Scorps (4-8, 1-1 District 1-5A) jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, then traded points with KC until it was 15-9. It was then that the Lady Broncos (1-8, 1-1) found a spark from freshman Talia Ockerman, who provided the Lady Broncos with powerful kills and blocks to help the team to an 11-5 run that tied the set at 20.

Kirtland Central's Franke Burns spikes the ball past Farmington's Mishael Isaacson on Thursday at Scorpion Gym.

“Sometimes we piggyback on her, and she really steps up, but sometimes the fact that she’s a freshman shows through. But for the most part, she did a really good job tonight,” Watson said of Ockerman. “I think part of it is her just coming into her own. She’s starting to realize where she needs to be and how to put the ball away. I’m really happy about how she’s coming along.”

The two teams traded points until KC took its first lead of the set at 23-22. The Lady Broncos earned the win by completing a 16-7 run that started early in the set.

“I thought the first set was just a hiccup, and we’d be fine, but it just kept being a bigger, darker hole that we fell very far and deep into, and we just couldn’t pull ourselves out,” Farmington coach Alana Rowland said of the second set.

In the third set, Farmington took an early lead and looked to have recovered from the second set, but KC went on another big run to take a 15-11 advantage. Farmington battled back, cutting the score to 20-19 in favor of KC, but just as they did in the first set, the Lady Broncos never lost the lead.

Farmington's Donna Hall, left, and Jayden Curry block a spike from Kirtland Central's Nia Nelson on Thursday at Scorpion Gym.

Both teams will have home matches on Tuesday. Farmington will host Aztec (6-6, 2-0) and KC will host Miyamura (5-6, 0-1).

Aztec 3, Bloomfield 0

The Aztec volleyball team swept Bloomfield, but it was far from a one-sided performance tonight at Lillywhite Gym in Aztec.

The Lady Tigers picked up the first two sets 25-19 and 25-15, but in the third set, Bloomfield pushed them to the edge before Aztec slipped away with a 31-29 victory.

“They kept in there and were really aggressive at the net. We could have been tentative and just rolled it in, but they were still swinging,” Aztec coach Anna Straus said of her team’s performance in the third set.

Strauss said the biggest advantage the Lady Tigers had was their chemistry and ability to spread their offense around.

While Aztec (6-6, 2-0) was connecting from the start, Bloomfield (5-6, 1-1) needed time to find its game.

“I think we started a little bit slow, but we started to pick it up in the second set, and in the third set we really came on strong,” Bloomfield coach Sunni Baird said. “We took it to 31 (points), and it was just because the girls decided to battle. We just have to start that from 0-0.”

Aztec and Bloomfield will be on the road on Tuesday. Aztec will travel to Farmington to face the Lady Scorps (5-7, 1-1) and the Lady Bobcats will play at Gallup (6-4, 0-1).

Navajo Prep 3, Tohatchi 1

Navajo Prep overcame a slow start in the first set to dominate Tohatchi, toppling the Lady Cougars 23-25, 25-18, 25-8 and 25-6 tonight in Tohatchi.

Prep coach Rainy Crisp said the win was a big boost for the Lady Eagles, who have struggled with confidence after a poor showing at the Monument Valley Invitational in Arizona last week.

“After the tournament, we had some of our girls’ parents talk to them and just give them some more encouragement. Sometimes what coaches say becomes repetitive and goes in one ear and out the other, but having parents talk to them and say pretty much the same thing the coaches are saying to them made a difference,” Crisp said. “I think the girls really took that to heart, and we played so much better as a team.”

Crisp said Prep needed time to adjust to Tohatchi's style of play, but after the Lady Eagles got a feel for the game and started communicating better on the floor, they took control.

Prep will open play in District 1-4A on Tuesday, hosting Shiprock (9-3).

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