MESCALERO – In each game against Cloudcroft in their District 3-2A showdown, Oct. 19, Mescalero’s Chiefs fell behind.
It wasn’t by a lot each time, but the Bear always found themselves ahead by the fourth or fifth serve.
In every single frame, Mescalero found a way to come back and eventually won the match, 25-18, 24-26, 26-24, 25-23.
Much like the teams’ matchup the week before, every game was a battle, only this time the Chiefs were able to finish it up in four instead of five.
“I thought we played better tonight, as far as the whole team staying with it,” said Cloudcroft coach Joni Watson. “We showed some promise, but getting that lead and hanging onto it is something we need to work on.”
“We’ve changed a great deal,” said Mescalero coach Alice Velasquez of her team’s progress since the beginning of the season. “Maturity level still isn’t there, because we’re young. The biggest thing is we’re fundamentally better.”
Mescalero (10-8, 3-1 District) was down 3-1 in the first game before they were able to get the serve, and weren’t able to turn things around until Madisyn Yuzos got the serve and the Chiefs rattled off seven straight points.
Yuzos, sister Katelyn and Alyn Kazhe-Kirgan all showed off some wicked serves on the night, although Kazhe-Kirgan doesn’t think that’s her strong point.
“The big girls really have the good serves. I’m OK, but I still make mistakes,” Kazhe-Kirgan said. “We’ve had some very good games, played against some good teams. Against Cloudcroft, it’s a rivalry, and we’re ready to beat them when we need to.”
Mescalero didn’t trail the rest of the way and were really never threatened after that, but the last three games were a different story.
Cloudcroft (5-13, 0-4) held its lead through most of the second frame, with the Chiefs making a game of it as Paris Davis took the serve and things were tied at 15-all.
The teams later traded serving streaks – Laci Toddy for Cloudcroft and Fallon Velasquez for Mescalero were leading their teams in those instances – with the Bears taking advantage of some serious kills from Diana Cook.
It was a kill by Katelyn Yuzos that that got Mescalero the game-point serve, but the Chiefs were unable to capitalize. Cloudcroft’s Kaitlynn Bowman got a kill, Britney Hickman had an ace serve, and the Bears won the set 26-24.
That’s pretty much how the last two games went, as well. Cloudcroft got a lead, Mescalero came back, and the two were neck and neck all the way to the end.
The only difference was, Mescalero ended up winning in the end.
Now with only one loss in district – the Chiefs fell in four to Mesilla valley on Oct. 17 – Mescalero has two more matches left in the regular season.
They’ll be at Mesilla Valley Oct. 24 and at Lordsburg Oct. 28
“In that Mesilla Valley game, we showed we could play,” Velasquez said. “We lost the fourth game by two points, and I felt we should have won it, gone to five. It shows we can play with that team, and they’re ranked up there.”