Things started slow, picked up, the finished in awkward fashion for Corona’s volleyball team at this year’s Class 1A State tournament in Rio Rancho.
After splitting with District 3-1A foe Hondo in pool play and holding their own against Melrose, the Lady Cardinals finished second overall and ended up facing Coronado in the first round of bracket play.
That’s when things went south, as Corona lost in four, 25-13, 22-25, 25-20, 25-17.
“In pool play we did really well, although we gave one to Hondo,” said Corona coach Amanda Dunlap. “But we used that as a warm-up and stayed close against Melrose.
“So we found our groove and were warmed up,” she added. “But then in that first game against Coronado, we couldn’t find that groove. I’m not really sure why we fell apart.”
Of course, if the Lady Cardinals had won, they’d have been up against six-time defending state champion Elida – now seven-time with their three-game win over Melrose on Saturday – in the semifinals.
That didn’t concern Dunlap too much. She knew a matchup with the Lady Tigers would come sooner or later.
Instead, however, it didn’t come at all, and now Corona moves into the basketball season.
They’ll also be looking at a 2017 season that may or may not be a thing. Several Lady Cardinals are graduating, with a load of youth and inexperience left behind.
“With only three seasoned veterans and then a few that didn’t have much playing up under their belts, I was pretty proud of them,” Dunlap said. “Now we’ll look at it in the spring and see if we have enough girls for a team next year.
“If we do have a season, we’ll be starting from scratch,” she added. “I’ll only have four returning from this year’s team, and only three had prior experience. People will have to be patient.”