TULAROSA – If this is how every District 4-3A match is going to be this year, Capitan volleyball fans are in for a wild ride.
The Tigers got the victory over Tularosa in their district opener, Oct. 5, but it came in five hard-fought games, 22-25, 29-27, 22-25, 25-16, 15-9.
“It’s nice to start district play with a district win,” said Capitan coach Pam Allen. “This is the best teamsmanship, if that’s even a word, that the Capitan Tigers have had this season.”
Capitan (8-4, 1-0 district) wasn’t exactly overpowering in game one. Neither team was. In one stretch, neither the Tigers nor Tularosa (2-9, 0-1) could get a service point in eight alternating serves.
That made for a super close game that finally saw the Wildcats get the victory following a kill and game point serve by Raegan Brusuelas.
That run of failed serves was a theme throughout the match, including the second frame, which saw Tularosa and game point serve three times.
Each time the Tigers were able to come up with a clutch play – or the Wildcats served out – to keep the game alive.
Eventually, Capitan took over with Meghan Traylor at serve, and two more points later, had helped give her team the 29-27 victory.
“I felt that everyone was on point,” Allen said. “They were digging, working hard and making a huge effort to control their mindset. We didn’t let it bother us if we made an error or get our heads down when we lost.
“I am just so proud, you have no idea,” she added.
One of those players being on point was Dakota Hazen, returning to the court after twisting an ankle in a pickup game.
It kept her on the sideline for several weeks, including her team’s appearances in the Cloudcroft Mountaintop Tournament and Capitan Classic.
“It’s still a little sore, but I’m almost able to get back to my abilities,” Hazen said. “The match gave us the confidence to win another one or two in district. I feel like we can win it.”
Also making key plays and kills were Estrella Sedillo, Shelby Southard, Kara Vallance and Dominique Valadez.
District 4-3A promises to be a barn-burner of a district, with Eunice – winners over Capitan in the Mountaintop Championship – Dexter and Loving providing stiff competition.
“I told the girls, this is just the first of many battles,” said Tularosa coach Kyndra Montes. “We have to be ready for every game down to the wire, playing with that intensity.”