CARRIZOZO – After a slight stumble in their first game, Nov. 4, against Quemado, the Carrizozo Lady Grizzly volleyball team rebounded for a 23-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17 victory in the District 4-1A championship match.
“It feels great, just wonderful,” said Carrizozo coach Whitney Whittaker after the win. “The girls finally clicked together. That week off hurt us a little bit heading into this game.”
Carrizozo (13-9) hand’t played a match in more than a week by virtue of earning the top seed in the district tournament and getting to host the title game.
Quemado, meanwhile, had to defeat Reserve and Animas to make it this far and were a bit more revved up to start.
The Grizzlies had a 22-19 lead near the end of the first frame, but couldn’t get a scoring streak together, merely trading serves with the Lady Eagles (10-12) before Angela Lackey got the serve and Quemado rattled off four straight points to take the lead.
An error briefly gave the Lady Grizzlies the serve, but it was a temporary respite, as a shot in the net gave Quemado the game-point serve.
Gracie Craig came up with a kill to give the Lady Eagles the victory and Carrizozo some motivation to turn it around.
“I just think we were nervous for a district championship,” said middle blocker/hitter Hannah Ventura. “It took us a little time to get used to the game and get our nerves out.”
After that, the Lady Grizzlies didn’t trail the rest of the way, although Quemado was able to tie it at 7-all in game four before a block by Suntana Zamora gave Carrizozo the serve.
Joanna Vega then sent in seven straight serves to close out the game and match.
“As a team, we each have our backs,” Ventura said. “We work together and get it done.”
Now the obvious question is, where will the Lady Grizzlies end up seeded in the Class 1A State tournament?
“Right now it’s a little up in the air. I saw the seeding chart, and we’re ranked eighth right now,” Whittaker said. “I don’t know if this win will bump us up, but I do know that we’re going. We’ll just see how the bracket lies after Sunday.”