By Ryan Lengerich
The Tucumcari volleyball team will be short on experience and height this season but will be full of potential.
The Lady Rattlers open the 2003 campaign at 7 p.m. tonight at Logan High School.
The team scrimmaged Logan, San Jon and House Aug. 23 in a 20 minute running clock format. Although the team was missing a setter, head coach Nicole Bright-Lesly said the team played each team tight. The Rattlers added coach Alicia Trujillo this season who won state basketball championships as a player at Clayton. She has also coached volleyball for about ten years before coming to Tucumcari.
“We needed some fresh ideas and she has come packed with that,” Lesly said. “‘Lose’ is not in her vocabulary.”
Bliss Marquez and Amber Martin are the only seniors on a young Lady Rattlers team. Marquez began playing volleyball as a high school freshman and said she has noticed a change in the team’s work ethic from past years. She said Trujillo has impacted the training regimen by adding push ups and more physical practices.
“She is really hard but very good for us,” Marquez said. “I think we have a pretty good chance if we keep going the way we are.”
Serving is the team’s weakness while hitting may be the team’s strength, according to Marquez. She said the passing has also improved since the start of practices.
Martin, a middle hitter, began playing in fifth grade. She said Trujillo has helped the team most with fundamentals. She said the grueling practices has made them a better defensive team.
“Our strength will be that we will be in shape and scrappy but we don’t have any height,” Martin said.
In addition to the seniors, Lesly is counting on sophomore Jamie Jones and junior Autumn Moore to step up for the Lady Rattlers. She said this season’s team is filled with potential and already ahead of past teams.
“I don’t see anything other than success if they continue to play as a team,” Lesly said. “We have had tremendous support from the parents and it looks like it is shaping up to be a good season.”
High school volleyball in the state will also be playing by new rules this year. Games will move a “rally scoring” format where each ball in play is scored as a point. Any ball hitting the net and going into the court on a serve will be in play. And the “libero,” a defensive specialist who can neither serve nor attack a ball, will also be added.
“We have been working on serves and positioning to get ready,” Lesly said. “It looks like with the new rules it could be interesting.”