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FARMINGTON — The Piedra Vista volleyball team made a statement in its District 1-6A opener.

The Lady Panthers, who moved up from 5A this season, swept Cibola 25-23, 25-18 and 25-23 tonight at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse.

PV coach Ron Becker said the most impressive part of the night was the Lady Panthers’ mental toughness to win the close first and third sets.

“I think the best thing I saw them do tonight was stay mentally tough. The first set we had a big lead and let (Cibola) come back, but held them off. The third set we were way behind and battled back,” Becker said. “I’m really proud of how tough they were and that they never quit.”

Along with mental toughness, the Lady Panthers’ serving was near perfect. In the three sets of action, PV committed just three service errors.

“I can live with that, totally,” Becker said. “We had a couple errors at unfortunate times, but I’m OK with only three errors, especially if they’re serving tough like they were tonight. Serving makes such a big difference because if we serve really weak, we’re going to get the ball rammed down our throat.”

No individuals filled up the stat sheet for PV, as the Lady Panthers spread the production around to keep Cibola from focusing on one player. Elli Wright and Bebe Jaquez led PV with six kills each.

While PV has seen everyone in its district either in the summer or during the first part of the season, Becker said the win in the district opener should provide a boost in confidence as the team moves through the rest of the schedule.

“This is a huge confidence builder because Cibola is really strong, they’re ranked really high, and they have girls who can pound the ball. I think (Cibola) is one of the top teams in the state in 6A, and this will be a huge confidence builder for us going into district," Becker said. "I think the girls believe they’re one of the top teams in the district, and this gives them the confidence to go out and play with anybody.”

PV will play at Bayfield, Colo., (7-3) on Tuesday during the Lady Wolverines’ homecoming week.

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

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