MESCALERO – For most of the first game of their volleyball match, Sept. 21, it seemed as though neither Mescalero nor Hondo wanted to win.
They traded points almost until the very end before Mescalero pulled out the victory, only to see the Lady Eagles return the favor in the next frame.
By the end of the night, it was the Lady Chiefs that had the 25-19, 24-26, 25-23, 21-25, 15-5 victory.
The see-saw battle was revenge for Mescalero (5-5), which had lost to Hondo last week in five.
All that back and forth can make for a stressful night. Just ask Mescalero coach Axel Hernandez.
“We just have to remind them to go back to the basics,” Hernandez said. “We made some changes, I moved Janessa (Melendrez) to the middle, because that’s where Hondo was hitting. I was hoping that with her digging them up, we’d build some confidence that would allow us to finish the game.”
In almost every game, the winning team had to come back from an initial deficit – sometimes giving back the lead before finally falling.
Even when Hondo (6-4) grabbed a 23-19 lead in game four and needed just two more points to win it, Mescalero was able to get the serve back and got one more point before the Lady Eagles were able to finally put it away.
“Everything clicked with the changes I made,” said Hondo coach Denise Montoya, referring to the addition of players like Monique Blackmon, Nayeli Madrid and Kate Cooper into the lineup at key moments.
Game five was the anti-climactic end to the evening, as the Lady Chiefs grabbed hold of a 12-1 lead on a seven-point run with Melendrez serving.
Even after they gave up some points, Mescalero was able to ramrod the final points through for the big win.
“We started out serving well and Hondo made a couple of mistakes,” Hernandez said. “In a fifth game, when you get ahead like that, it’s pretty hard to come back.”
“It was just one mistake after another, and we couldn’t recover from that,” Montoya said.
Hondo hosts Grady this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and is on the road at Carrizozo next Tuesday.
Montoya is hoping her team can gain some wins and confidence heading into District 3-1A play.
“(The Grady game) will be a tough one. It seems we have changes for every game,” Montoya said. “We can’t seem to find the six that works.”
Mescalero won’t play at all until next week, a Tuesday home match against Hagerman.
“We’re going to work on skills, as far as hitting,” Hernandez said. “We need to learn how to terminate the ball. We can’t be patty-caking the ball. We have to hit it down and finish it.”