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Bloomfield keeps Kirtland on its toes, but loses


Special to the Times | Curtis Ray Benally

Kirtland Central setter Peanut Dryden sets up teammate Siigrid Lii’bilNaghahi in the third set of Tuesday’s District 1-4A match at Kirtland. Kirtland Central Lady Broncos defeated Bloomfield Lady Bobcats in four sets.

The Kirtland Central High School volleyball team has to be kept on its toes.

With an undefeated record in the 4A District 1 season, the Lady Broncos have had to stay on alert in an effort to maintain their humility.

On Tuesday night, Bloomfield High School was the latest team to keep Kirtland Central on its toes, pushing the team to four sets, but the Lady Broncos ultimately came up on top for the 3-1 win in sets 25-21, 25-19, 22-25, 25-13. The victory put them 5-0 in the district.

Kirtland Central head coach Nadia Begay-Watson said her team has a habit of keeping matches interesting by allowing teams opportunities to win sets, which can be good for them.

“We can’t really take anything lightly in the district because they all have opportunities to win volleyball games and put us in our spot,” she said. “I wish we didn’t (have to keep on our toes) but I think that’s what volleyball is.”

The Bloomfield Lady Bobcats took an early 6-1 lead in the first set before Kirtland Central got things rolling to come back within a couple of points. The teams kept things close until Kirtland Central went on a 6-1 stretch to take the 11-10 lead. The teams battled back and forth for the remainder of the set, but Kirtland Central managed a small lead to close the set 25-21.

The Lady Broncos’ slow start continued in the second set and they stayed behind Bloomfield for about half of the set, trailing 18-14 before taking over.

Kirtland Central made a 10-0 run to take the 24-18 lead and closed the second set 25-19.

While the Lady Broncos made a huge comeback, Bloomfield made an even bigger one in the third set.

Bloomfield took the lead again in the third set, leading 12-10 before Kirtland Central could get back in the game. Mistakes on Kirtland Central’s end and some strong net play gave the Bobcats the leverage they needed to close in for the 25-22 set win.

Bloomfield head coach Sunni Corley said she had hoped her team would show the perseverance they had discussed before the match, and they did once their backs were up against the wall.

“We’ve been trying. That’s something we’ve really been focusing on and I mentioned it before we came out tonight; being the persistent player, being the player that the other side says, ‘They don’t quit,’” she said.

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About The Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at or via cell at (505) 686-0769.