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Lady Chiefs storm back to beat Cloudcroft

By Todd Fuqua

Photo by Todd Fuqua Mescalero libero Janessa Melendrez, left, receives a Cloudcroft serve as teammate Alarah Kirgan calls for the pass, Nov. 1, at Mescalero.

MESCALERO – It didn’t need to take four games, but that’s what happened in Mescalero’s 25-21, 26-24, 24-26, 25-18 win over Cloudcroft in the first round of the District 3-2A volleyball tournament on Nov. 1.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Mescalero's Penny Largo, far left, and Maisie Wabunsee react to a hit from Cloudcroft's Olivia Sealey, Nov. 1, during the first round of the District 3-2A tournament at Mescalero.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Mescalero’s Penny Largo, far left, and Maisie Wabunsee react to a hit from Cloudcroft’s Olivia Sealey, Nov. 1, during the first round of the District 3-2A tournament at Mescalero.

After winning the first two game and threatening to sweep, Mescalero (11-10) was at match-point serve with a 24-22 lead before things started going south. Way south.

Cloudcroft survived two match point serves and turned things around to win the fourth frame.

But that wasn’t all. The Lady Bears (5-15) turned on the jets to take a 12-3 lead before the Lady Chiefs were able to right the ship.

“I don’t know what happened, but I know that we made a lot of simple mistakes,” said Mescalero coach Axel Hernandez. “Those simple mistakes are what keep getting us in games that we lose.”

Photo by Todd Fuqua Mescalero's Kaitlyn Yuzos, left, smacks the ball as Cloudcroft's Olivia Sealy attempts a block, Nov. 1, during a District 3-2A tournament match at Mescalero.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Mescalero’s Kaitlyn Yuzos, left, smacks the ball as Cloudcroft’s Olivia Sealy attempts a block, Nov. 1, during a District 3-2A tournament match at Mescalero.

But once Mescalero got those mistakes under control, it didn’t just right the ship, it started full speed ahead to victory with 11 straight service points from Lauryn Yuzos to turn a 12-4 deficit into a 15-12 advantage.

“Volleyball is a momentum game,” Hernandez said. “The girls did well, and I told the girls that even though they’d beaten Cloudcroft before, it’s a new team on the other side every match.”

It’s not like Cloudcroft was completely out of it. They got to within two points near the end.

But a 4-0 run near the end – capped by a block from Yuzos – finally brought the evening to a close.

“The girls had to come out and fight hard and go after them,” Hernandez said. “Thankfully they did that and we were able to beat Cloudcroft.”

Things started looking dicey for the Lady Chiefs before the very end of game three, as the teams traded serves 10 straight times. It seemed neither squad was interested in winning.

It’s that kind of inconsistent play Mescalero does not want to exhibit if it wants to defeat Lordsburg in the next round on Nov. 3.

“Lordsburg is a good team. We need to come out and hit it hard so they aren’t able to dig the ball,” Hernandez said. “Also, we need to serve in. The very first game we played against them, we missed 25 serves, the second one, we missed 14.

“When you play a team that doesn’t make many errors and we make a lot of errors, they’ll be the winning team,” he added. “Our mindset needs to be ready to play.”

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