Aztec, Farmington fall in five at 5A tourney

Karl Schneider,

FARMINGTON — The Aztec volleyball team fought hard against Valencia in the first round of the 5A state tournament, but came up short against the Lady Jaguars 25-17, 25-27, 25-21, 19-25 and 15-7 tonight at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

Aztec's Taley Ferrari puts a kill past Valencia's Leah Tapia on Thursday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

“It was back and forth all five games. It was a battle the whole time,” Aztec coach Anna Strauss said. “(The Lady Tigers) have it a valiant effort. I’m proud of them. They came a long way, and they grew a lot. This was a young team to get to state. We didn’t have any state experience, and sometimes it’s a wow experience with their first time down here.”

The Lady Tigers (16-7) split their two matches in pool play, losing to No. 10 Goddard in the first match before rebounding to beat No. 3 Artesia.

Strauss said the Lady Tigers showed their inexperience and nerves in the loss to the Lady Rockets, but responded well to topple Artesia.

In the loss to Valencia (17-7), Strauss said no individual stood out with a strong performance, as her team got solid play across the court.

Even with the first-round exit from the tourney, Aztec compiled one of its best seasons in recent memory, going undefeated in district play to capture the program’s first district title in 23 years.

“I had some very good senior role models this year, and we have a very good group coming back next year,” Strauss said. “I’m excited about what the future holds.”

Los Lunas 3, Farmington 2

The Farmington volleyball team’s season came to a close during the first round of the 5A state tournament today at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

The Lady Scorps (11-12) drew a tough pool, finishing third, to set up a meeting with the second-seeded Los Lunas Lady Tigers (19-5) in the first round.

Farmington's Jaydn Curry, left, sends the ball over the net against Los Lunas on Thursday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

Farmington pushed the defending state champs to the brink, but ultimately succumbed in five sets, losing 24-26, 25-12, 21-25, 25-19 and 15-6.

“(I’m) so very pleased with this team. Their floor defense and blocking was great. Los Lunas has some big, heavy arms, and our girls worked their tails off to block and dig,” Farmington coach Alana Rowland said in a text message. “I felt like we had great momentum at times, and I was stoked to be playing (Los Lunas) so close. We played them in Santa Fe earlier in the season, so I knew it was going to be tough, but our girls put up a great fight, and we did some really good things.”

In pool play this morning, the Lady Scorps dropped both of their matches to No. 4 Roswell and No. 5 Española Valley to set up the match with Los Lunas

Jaydn Curry led the Lady Scorps with nine kills against Los Lunas, followed by Bergan Campbell’s seven kills.

Farmington also put together its greatest performance of the season at the service line against Los Lunas. During the match, the Lady Scorps only committed one service error on their 83 attempts.

The trip to the state tourney wrapped up one of Farmington’s best seasons in recent years.

Rowland, who is in her first year with the program, said the team is “night and day” from where it was at the start of the season.

“Change is scary,” Rowland said. “I applaud these girls for being patient and open minded with a whole new staff and system.”

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