NM state volleyball tourney begins today

By Sunnie Clahchischiligi
Navajo Times

SHIPROCK, Nov. 14, 2013

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Eleven New Mexico's area volleyball teams will find out if the hard work over the last three months has paid off.

The New Mexico Activities Association state volleyball championship gets underway today.

In class 1A, the Tse Yi Gai Diné Warriors hold the No. 12 seed going in to pool and bracket play today. They will compete in the Pool D with No. 4 Magdalena and No. 5 Questa, according to the NMAA. They will play at Rio Rancho High in Rio Rancho, N.M.

The Diné Warriors finished last in their pool last year and fell 3-0 to Escalante in the first round of the tournament. They are looking to work their way from the bottom up again this weekend.

In Class 2A, three teams from District 1-2A have qualified for the state tournament this year including Newcomb, Navajo Prep and Ramah, who will represent their district this year in Rio Rancho. District 7-2A Cuba and Laguna Acoma will also make an appearance.

Ramah finished the regular season as the 1-2A district champs after defeating Newcomb in a 3-1 match. Ramah is seeded No. 11 and in Pool C with No. 3 Santa Fe Prep and No. 6 Hatch Valley.

Newcomb is seeded No. 9 and will be in Pool A with No. 1 Santa Rosa and No. 8 Tularosa. Navajo Prep has the No. 10 seed and will be in Pool B No. 2 Bosque and No. 7 Eunice.

Navajo Prep's head coach Rainy Crisp said she's excited the team made the tournament especially being in the largest district in the state regardless of class, but her team has some work cut out for them.

"I do like the pool that we're in, although we're in it with No. 2 Bosque. I'm glad we do get to see them early. If we lose it doesn't count against us," she said. "Seeing them in the past they're definitely going to be our biggest challenge."

Prep finished third in the district tournament. Crisp said she's sure if she played hitter Jasmine Coleman, who was out due to a poor weekly grade check, the outcome would have been different.

A second grade check for Coleman was pending at the time of deadline, and Crisp was unclear if she would play. Crisp added that regardless of Coleman's status, her team will have to remain consistent.

"We start off really good -- but something always happens to us in the second game, mentally we tend to let down," she said. "We are very happy just to be in the tournament."

Cuba is seeded No. 5 and Laguna is seeded No. 12, and both will play in a pool with No. 4 Texico. All 2A pool play matches will take place at Cleveland High School and Rio Rancho Middle School.

In Class 3A action, the Wingate Lady Bears are ranked No 8 in the tournament and will play in Pool A with No. 1 Hope Christian and No. 9 Raton.

The Shiprock Lady Chiefs are seeded No. 11 and will be in Pool C with No. 3 Pojoaque and No. 6 Ruidoso. All 3A pool play will take place at the Santa Ana Star Center.

In 4A, the Piedra Vista Panthers are seeded No. 1 going into pool play. They will meet No. 8 St. Pius and No. 9 Santa Fe. They are one of three teams in District 1-4A selected for the tournament. Farmington and Aztec also qualified.

Piedra Vista head coach Ron Becker said he knew his team was good but was surprised by the seeding.

"I didn't expect to be this high," he said. "I knew we would be very scrappy defense wise but I didn't expect us to be ranked up this high."

He said his team has met just about all of the top 12 teams in the state and he's confident with how his team will perform, especially with no injuries to worry about.

"We need to come out and play our very best," he said. "If anything I'm more nervous about how we play."

Farmington is seeded No. 7 and Aztec No. 12. Farmington will be in Pool B No. 2 Goddard and No. 10. Aztec will meet No. 4 Centennial and No. 5 Espanola Valley. All 4A pool play will take place at the Santa Ana Star Center.

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