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Kirtland Central sweeps Gallup to advance to District 1-5A semifinals

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BLOOMFIELD — The Bloomfield volleyball team’s season came to an end tonight.

After Bloomfeild and Miyamura split the first four sets in the quarterfinals of the District 1-5A tournament, the fourth-seeded Lady Bobcats rallied back from an 8-3 deficit in the fifth set to take a 14-13 lead. But Bloomfield couldn’t find a way to put No. 5 Miyamura away, losing the final set 16-14.

Miyamura (8-13) took the first set 25-18 before Bloomfield (8-13) bounced back with a 25-22 win in the second. The Lady Patriots responded with a 25-15 win in the third and Bloomfield won the fourth 25-17.

Throughout the night, Bloomfield struggled with the Lady Patriots' hard serves, which kept the Lady Bobcats out of its system.

“They’re tough servers. I don’t take anything away from them because they’re tough servers,” Bloomfield coach Sunni Baird said of Miyamura. “We didn’t pass as well as we normally do, but they were serving tough.”

On top of Miyamura’s tough serving, the Lady Bobcats didn’t do themselves many favors during the match. On multiple occasions, Bloomfield seemed to take itself out of the game mentally, dwelling on missed chances that allowed the Lady Patriots to string together runs.

“That’s what broke us and how they were able to get runs on us,” Baird said of the lapses in mental toughness. “They have to battle for every ball. You can’t take one (play) off, because that’s what will happen. We have to be more consistent. When we get into a bind like that, we need to take our time and get back to the basics.”

Baird, who took over as coach midway through the season, said that after the loss her message to the Lady Bobcats wasn’t the traditional keep-your-head-up speech often delivered after a season-ending loss, rather a thank you to the team for their nonstop effort during the season.

“I told the seniors, ‘Thank you,’ first off, for being there. And I thanked all of them for sticking it out and dealing with the adversity,” Baird said. “They’ve come a long, long way and I’m very proud of them.”

The win moves Miyamura into the semifinals, where the Lady Patriots will play No. 1 Aztec (14-6) on Thursday night at Lillywhite Gym in Aztec.

Kirtland Central 3, Gallup 0

The Kirtland Central volleyball team is still alive after the Lady Broncos swept Gallup (6-14) 25-17, 25-22 and 25-17 during a quarterfinal match in the District 1-5A tournament tonight at Kirtland Central.

KC coach Nadia Watson said the difference between the close second set and the comfortable victories in the first and third was the Lady Broncos’ serving.

“We did a better job serving in the first and third sets. In the second we let them rattle off a few points,” Watson said.

Leading the Lady Broncos (8-10) at the service line were Bioncee Yazzie and Avery Begay.

Watson added that junior Dominique McGilbert had a strong all-around performance in the win.

The win moves KC into the semifinals where they’ll play Farmington on Thursday at Scorpion Gym in Farmington.

The Lady Broncos and Scorps (10-10) split their two meetings during the district schedule, KC winning the first and FHS taking the second.

“The last time we played them we didn’t do a very good job of making them work for their points. We gave them free balls off of errors we couldn’t take care of,” Watson said. “We need to clean up our game, take care of our errors and push back so Farmington has to earn their points instead of getting them off of our errors.”

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

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