Lady Scorpions move into district title match

Farmington cruised past Kirtland Central in four sets to advance to the District 1-5A championship against Aztec on Saturday

Karl Schneider

FARMINGTON — The Farmington volleyball team rolled into the District 1-5A championship with a four-set win over Kirtland Central tonight at Scorpion Gym.

Farmington's Lexie Jackson, right, makes a diving dig against Kirtland Central on Nov. 3 at Scorpion Gym in Farmington.

The Lady Scorps (11-10) dominated the first two sets, winning 25-16 and 25-13. KC stole the third 25-21 to keep the match going, but Farmington retook control in the fourth, winning 25-16.

“I was very, very, very pleased with the way we played in the first two sets,” Farmington coach Alana Rowland said. “We had a really good week of practice that allowed us to focus on some individual stuff, and how we played in the first two sets was exactly how we practiced.”

KC (8-11) struggled through the first and second sets, and never got much going to put any pressure on Farmington.

Kirtland Central's Talia Ockerman prepares to record a kill against Farmington on Thursday at Scorpion Gym.

KC coach Nadia Watson said the Lady Broncos' struggles were mostly from putting too much pressure on themselves and trying to force the issue.

“I think it was too much focus. I think they tried a little too hard instead of letting it come to them,” Watson said. “I know they wanted to win. I’m not questioning they wanted to win, but I think sometimes they try a little too hard instead of letting it come to them.”

The third set saw the Lady Broncos finally find a rhythm as they took advantage of a complacent Farmington team.

“Kirtland’s not a team to take lightly. They’re scrappy, and they wanted to win tonight as much as we wanted to win. We were expecting to win in the third set while they were working to win,” Rowland said. “We thought we were going to get it handed to us.”

KC and Farmington went back and forth early in the fourth set. KC took a 7-5 lead, but the Lady Scorps went on a 12-2 run to blow the set open and coasted to the victory.

The loss ends the Lady Broncos’ season, as they needed to win the district tournament to get a spot in next week’s state tourney.

After a tumultuous start to the season that had the Lady Broncos at 0-8, Watson said she was proud of the way her team rallied during the district schedule.

Farmington's JJ Curry puts a kill past Kirtland Central's Nia Nelson, right, and Shayonna Begay on Thursday at Scorpion Gym.

“This year was a really growing year for us. They played really tough teams right off the bat. We played the best that we could at every tournament, and it can mess with your mind when you’re losing,” Watson said. “It’s tough. I want them to know it was a growing season for them. A lot of it was mental, and I hope they come back 10-fold next year because we’re only losing one girl.”

Farmington moved into the district final and will play at Aztec (15-6) on Saturday.

In their last meeting on Oct. 20 in Aztec, the Lady Scorps pushed Aztec to five sets, and Rowland said her team is ready for the chance to hand Aztec its first loss since Sept. 22.

“They want to play Aztec again. Playing at Aztec last time and losing in five was a pretty intense match,” Rowland said. “Our girls want to redeem themselves. It’s not going to be easy by any means, but I think we are better than we were when we played them two weeks ago.”

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