Five volleyball squads bound for state tournament

Farmington leads local teams with No. 4 seed

Matt Hollinshead,
Farmington's Chloe Finch jumps up looking to block a hit by Gallup's Ericka Begay, No. 11 in black, during Thursday's District 1-5A semifinals match at Scorpion Arena.
  • Kirtland Central, Bloomfield, Shiprock and Piedra Vista also qualified for the state tournament.
  • The Lady Panthers qualified for postseason play for the 15th straight season.
  • Bloomfield and Kirtland Central both won 13 matches this season.

FARMINGTON — Five of San Juan County's volleyball squads went on different paths in 2017, but all ended up at the same destination: the state tournament.

Farmington, Piedra Vista, Kirtland Central, Bloomfield and Shiprock all made the big stage after tonight's brackets were announced.

"It's so exciting. None of the girls on the current team have ever been (to state) before. It means a ton. We've been looking forward to it all year," Bloomfield coach Sunni Corley said. "We've been talking so much about not letting the big picture burden you, but just playing point for point."

Farmington, KC and Bloomfield earned 5A's No. 4, 8 and 11 seeds, respectively.

"I think that just speaks for all of the teams in our district," Corley said. "We learned to play a fast-paced game. Luckily, I think we're peaking at the end of this season."

PV earned 6A's No. 10 seed, while Shiprock earned 4A's No. 9 seed.

Farmington won its first district regular-season title since 1997, and it also captured the district tournament title with a five-set win over Kirtland Central. The Lady Scorpions went unbeaten in district, and also got key wins against Shiprock, Piedra Vista and Santa Fe.

Farmington (19-3) enters state with 13 straight victories.

Shiprock (12-7) won its second straight District 1-4A regular-season title this year, as well as this year’s district tournament title. The Lady Chieftains also went undefeated in district play.

"It's really shown them they have the capacity to win," Shiprock coach Teri Atcitty said. "We're pretty excited. They're pretty eager to win. They want it."

PV (9-12) had an up-and-down campaign with a less-experienced squad, but returned to state for its 15th straight season after resuming its battles with its tough District 1-6A foes. All five District 1-6A teams reached this year's state tournament.

"I'm really, really ecstatic that we're back in," Panthers coach Ron Becker said. "I was really sweating this was going to be the first year we weren't going to get a chance to go. It would be so weird not to go to state."

Kirtland and Bloomfield both enter state with 13 victories.

Each class tournament is broken down into pools A, B, C and D. Each pool features three teams.

Pool play in Class 5A begins at 8 a.m. Thursday, while Class 6A's pool play starts at 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Class 4A's pool play starts at 1 p.m. Thursday. The first round in each tournament will start right after pool play that evening.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.