PV enters state volleyball tournament as No. 1 seed

By Sunnie Clahchischiligi
Special to the Times

SHIPROCK, N.M., November 15, 2012

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(Times photo – Paul Natonabah)

TOP: Wingate's Bethany Pine (14) gets the ball past Bloomfield's Trinity Mayo (8) during the District 1-3A semi-final game at Wingate High on Nov. 8. The Lady Bear, lost 3-1.

SECOND FROM TOP: Wingate's Shyler Lowley (6) hits the ball over the net against a Bloomfield defender during the District 1-3A semi-final matchup at Wingate High.

T here's no better time to make a statement than district time, especially for the Bloomfield Lady Bobcats.

Before sweeping Shiprock (25-19, 25-23, 25-20) for the 1-3A District title on Nov. 10, Bloomfield (10-13) showed that they were more than prepared.

"I said we were ready. We meant it. I knew the girls were going to be playing at the right time, at the end of the season when it really counts, rather than peaking early and taking a nose dive," Bloomfield head coach Tami Bekes said. "They did all the hard work, I wish I could be out there playing but they did it, they put in that extra hard work since the summer time to get here."

Bekes said mental toughness was key to their win. Having gone five games in most of their district games, she said her team was ready to finish the district tournament strong.

"We knew that we were a better team than our records show, we didn't win a lot of games and we just always fell short in that fifth game…and the girls have really stepped up their game," Bekes said. "I told them they have to make a statement tonight...."

Bloomfield is seeded No. 12 going into the state tournament in Rio Rancho. They will meet No. 4 Silver to start off pool play today at Santa Ana Star Center.

They were prepared in just about every aspect of the game and Shiprock (13-6) knew it.

Shiprock head coach Rae Collins said Bloomfield did a good job taking them out of their mental game. She said her team prepared the best they could but their mental game wasn't strong enough.

"…They executed very well, they just kind of made a lot of mental mistakes when it came kind of clutch time," Collins said. "I really do think it was mental because a lot of them kind of started to play timid, and in a game like situation it's not going to cut it and I'm really surprised that they played that way, because I know that they can play better than that when it comes down to it."

Collins was named District 1-3A Coach of the Year, something she said would have felt more deserving had she helped her team obtain their goals.

"(It feels) kind of undeserved in a away," she said "I wish we kind of finished on top in the tournament…and more of my emphasis for being coach this year for being coach was to get them where they wanted to go…"

Shiprock is seeded No. 6 going into the state tournament and will meet No. 11 Ruidoso in pool play today.

In District 1-2A, the Navajo Prep Lady Eagles (17-3) clinched the district title win over Rehoboth (13-9) in four games (25-12, 25-16, 14-25, 25-16).

A rival game, Navajo Prep head coach Rainy Crisp said her team prepared for a tough match. She said Rehoboth was looking to secure a ticket into the state tournament but her team was prepared to keep theirs.

"We started off strong, we wanted to come out talking, aggressive and just smart," Crisp said. "In the coming days prior to this game we really focused on our defense, right now defense was our weakest part of our game, we wanted to have good covering."

Navajo Prep is ranked No. 4 going into the state tournament. They will meet No. 12 Cuba at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday at Cleveland High.

"I really think being ranked No. 4 right now, it's great. I was really hoping we'd be in the top five," Crisp said. "It's really up to us to prove that we're really the better team at state."

In Farmington, the Piedra Vista Lady Panthers (No. 1) defeated the Farmington Lady Scorpions (No. 11) for the 1-4A district title with a sweeping (25-15, 25-16, 15-11) victory on Nov. 10.

The Lady Panthers (20-1) met and swept Farmington (13-9) at least three other times this season but Piedra Vista head coach Ron Becker said his team still had to be prepared.

Becker said he was looking for his team to play consistent, as they will be heading to the state tournament today. He said it was a good win going into the tournament.

"Pretty much try and take care of our side of the net and make sure we didn't make any mistakes and give away any points by making mistakes," he said. "It was really awesome. Having them being on top of that, now we have a big target on our back being ranked first in state."

Piedra Vista is seeded No. 1. The Lady Panthers will meet No. 9 Los Alamos at the Santa Ana Star Center at 10:30 a.m. this morning.

"When we go to state nobody's going to be easy. There's no easy win, there's no easy points," Becker said. "The only tough part is our pool is going to be pretty tough, we pretty much have to be ready to go as soon as we get on the court."

The Lady Scorpions are seeded No. 11 going into the state tournament. They will meet No. 4 Goddard at the Santa Ana Star Center today at 10:30 a.m.

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