Shiprock and Navajo Prep beaten in first round

Navajo Prep finishes second in its 4A pool, Shiprock is third

Jake Newby

FARMINGTON — For the fifth straight year, the Shiprock volleyball team finished third in pool play, and for the fifth straight year, the Lady Chieftains couldn't bounce back and were eliminated during the first round of the state playoffs.

Navajo Prep's Necole Begay taps the ball over to the Pojoaque Valley defense on Thursday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

No. 6 Shiprock (15-7) finished last today in a 4A pool that included No. 3 Robertson and No. 10 Santa Fe Indian School. Later in the afternoon, the Lady Chiefs were swept 3-0 by No. 8 Portales at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

"We were actually put in a good bracket where we could regain our position," Shiprock coach Teri Atcitty said. "But our teamwork, as far as the mental strengths, they kind of fell apart. We tried to regroup again, but it was kind of too late."

Portales (11-11) won 25-16, 25-14, 25-12.

Atcitty said the lopsided score wasn't necessarily anything the Lady Rams did well, but more so what her team did poorly.

Shiprock's Janae Benally makes a dig during a game against Portales on Thursday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

"We basically gave them points a lot," Atcitty said. "It was a lot our own mistakes that gave them points."

Atcitty said her team is going to try and take this experience gained at the state tourney and use it to build off of next year.

Pojoaque Valley 3, Navajo Prep 0 

The No. 11 Lady Eagles were placed in pool B of 4A, and they fared well there, finishing behind No. 2 St. Michael's but ahead of No. 7 Silver.

That standing earned Navajo Prep (12-9) a match with No. 4 Pojoaque Valley (16-7), which swept the Lady Eagles 25-15, 25-20, 25-17.

Prep coach Rainy Crisp said she felt good about her team's chances after pool play.

"We could have did a little better against St. Mike's, but we still built some confidence by beating Silver," Crisp said.

The Lady Eagles kept the match against the Elkettes close for the most part, but failed to play with much consistency. After a very up-and-down season, Crisp said she would have liked for her team to find more consistency on the big stage of the state playoffs, but her players never got into a groove.

"It was one of those games where we would do good for a couple of points, but it was hard to keep it going," Crisp said. "We couldn't get into a rhythm."

Crisp said the district championship in Prep's first year as a 4A team was the season's highlight.

"We had a great season that all came to a head when we won the district title. That was big for us," Crisp said. "We did great in proving to ourselves that we could compete at this level, and we've got a good group of girls coming back next year."

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