HONDO – When Mescalero and Hondo’s volleyball teams last faced off, on Mescalero’s home floor, the Eagles got the victory.
This time, the Chiefs got the four game, 18-25, 25-19, 25-10, 25-22 victory.
“We need to be mentally prepared to play any game any time,” said Mescalero coach Alice Velasquez. “I knew it would be a battle, but it depends on how you get off the bus.”
It wasn’t exactly a stellar start for the Chiefs (5-4), as they lost the first game after trailing the entire way.
After that, things settled down for them and Kaitlyn Yuzos started revving up with big kills at the net.
“I felt pretty confident because my teammates and I worked hard this weekend,” Yuzos said, speaking about her team’s third-place finish at the Cloudcroft Mountaintop Tournament. “We were all excited, and then we had this game, and it was big for us to beat them.”
Also on point for the Chiefs was Alyn Kirgan, who racked up seven ace serves on the night.
“When she is in for, it goes straight down,” Velasquez said of Kirgan’s serving. “We’ve got two or three players that can do that. Kaitlyn can do it. Fallon (Velasquez) can do that. Those three servers are very important to our team.”
Mescalero got relatively easy wins in games two and three, but found it difficult near the end of the final frame.
After the Chiefs went on a 5-0 run with Kirgan serving to take a 19-11 lead, Hondo (6-3) crawled back into it and eventually got the serve back with Mescalero just two points away from winning the match.
The Eagles then went on a 4-0 run with Melissa Guillen at the serve to get within two points before a pair of Hondo errors finally brought things to a close.
“What’s happening on our part is we’re not anticipating where the ball is going to go. We know it’s coming over, but we end up scrambling for the ball,” said Hondo coach Denise Montoya. “When we set up an offense, it’s awesome. Kate Cooper pulled it out tonight with some great hits and kills.”