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Lady Grizzlies settle to win over Hondo

By Todd Fuqua

Photo by Todd Fuqua Carrizozo senior Kristie Gallacher sets the ball over the net, Sept. 27, during her team's win over Hondo at Carrizozo.

CARRIZOZO – To start Carrizozo’s volleyball match against Lincoln County rival Hondo, Sept. 27, the Lady Grizzlies lost the first game 25-20.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Hondo's Nina Herrera hits the ball over the net, Sept. 27, during her team's match at Carrizozo.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Hondo’s Nina Herrera hits the ball over the net, Sept. 27, during her team’s match at Carrizozo.

They won the next three to take the match, but after a 25-9 shellacking of the Lady Eagles in game two, it wasn’t easy.

In short, it was a typical Carrizozo volleyball match.

“We’re trying. We’re doing a lot better than what we did in the beginning of the year,” said Carrizozo coach Whitney Whittaker. “It’s just a slow start each time. Once we get the momentum, we’ll be OK.”

Hondo (7-5) looked ready to earn the victory, even if it would be close, after battling back and forth with the Lady Grizzlies for the opening win.

But then Carrizozo (5-7) got things in gear to win game two, 24-9. Kristie Gallacher was a force beyond the service line, contributing eight straight service points and two aces to bring her team to match point.

Following a net ball by the Lady Eagles, Carrizozo won handily.

Gallacher also had a seven-point service run in the forth game to extend her team’s lead from six to 12 points.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Carrizozo eighth grader Kaitlyn Guevara attempts to save the ball, Sept. 27, during her team's home match against Hondo.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Carrizozo eighth grader Kaitlyn Guevara attempts to save the ball, Sept. 27, during her team’s home match against Hondo.

“She has a great arm, so I like to utilize her not just as a setter but also to hit the ball,” Whittaker said of Gallacher’s scoring. “And she’s a heck of a server, so she’s an all-around player.”

The Lady Grizzlies have relied heavily on a number of young players to fill out the roster, including three eighth graders – Suntana Zamora, Kaitlyn Guevara and Johana Vega – as starters.

Vega – younger sister of Carrizozo alumni Erica Vega – said it can be a lot of pressure for a young player with that much responsibility, but she’s enjoying it.

“It’s fun and exciting,” Vega said. “I know my team has my back.”

Tuesday’s match served as a predecessor to district competition – almost.

Hondo jumps into District 3-1A on Oct. 11 – almost two weeks away – with a home contest against Lake Arthur.

Carrizozo, meanwhile, takes on Hagerman this Thursday and Corona on Oct. 4 – both at home – before welcoming Reserve to their home court for the start of District 2-1A.

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