CAPITAN – The only way Capitan and Carrizozo’s volleyball teams have met each other on the court this season was in pool play – both in last weekend’s Cloudcroft Mountain Top Tournament and in this weekend’s Capitan Classic.
At least they were in the same bracket on Sept. 24, but ended up on opposite ends after Carrizozo fell in four games to Fort Sumner in the first round, while Capitan swept Cloudcroft.
Both were playing in the Black Bracket of the eight-team tournament after a full day of round robin pool play on Friday. It made for a long and tiring day for every team.
“It was a very long night, and you could tell by the last game that the girls were tired,” said Capitan coach Kimberly Stone. “Not just our girls, everyone was tired by the end. But the more touches you have on the ball, the better it will make you.”
The Black bracket was the “lower” tier of the tournament – Carrizozo was eighth out of eight teams after the first day. But their competitive spirit was strong on Saturday morning against the Vixens, at least at the beginning.
“We finished eighth after pool play, which was unfortunate,” said Carrizozo coach Whitney Whittaker. “But they came out with fire in this one (against Fort Sumner), we just couldn’t finish.”
Carrizozo (3-7) won the first game 25-23, but it took five game point serves before the Lady Grizzlies were victorious.
Fort Sumner returned the favor in game two, winning by the same 25-23 score, although they did allow Carrizozo to within two points near the end.
That all changed to start the third frame. Fort Sumner scored six points before the Lady Grizzlies were able to get the serve.
Carrizozo was never able to crawl back out of that hole, falling 25-11. Pretty much the same thing occurred in the 25-15 final game.
“They have talent, they just need to come out and shine,” Whittaker said. “Once they get out of the box, they’re going to be a great team. Right now we’re just a little reserved and not confident in ourselves.”
Carrizozo was able to rebound for a 3-1 win over Cloudcroft in what amounted to the seventh-place match later that afternoon and hosts Hondo on Sept. 27.
Cloudcroft was in that match after being swept by Capitan in the morning.
The Lady Tigers (3-6) took no prisoners in the first game, blowing out Cloudcroft 25-10. Asthon Nunez had the serve for five straight points to close it out.
But as easy as that first game was, the next two were difficult for Capitan. The Lady Bears were within striking distance throughout game two before falling 23-20, and the Lady Tigers needed another scoring burst with Nunez at the serve to turn a 17-12 Cloudcroft advantage into a 19-17 Tiger lead.
After that, the Lady Bears tied things at 22-all on a kill by Laci Toddy before Capitan scored three straight points on Cloudcroft errors to end it.
“It was errors on our part,” Stone said of her team’s struggles. “When they move their feet and they play, they can put the ball in the hole and put it on the ground.”
While a number of players may have been missing from the Lady Tiger roster – McKenzie Nunez took on the Libero position from Lizbeth Quiroz, while front row force Dakota Hazen and Meghan Traylor were also missing – they did have senior Keilee Templeman back from surgery in her first time on the court this season.
“It’s good, I still hurt a little, but I’d rather get to a ball than have it fall right in front of me,” Templeman said.
Capitan later fell to Fort Sumner in the fifth place game that afternoon in five games, and have a rematch against Cloudcroft on Sept. 27.