By Rick White: Freedom Newspapers
TEXICO — Texico moved within a game of forcing a playoff for the District 6-2A regular-season title Tuesday in less than convincing fashion.
Lori Richardson hammered seven kills and Sissy Loper dished 25 assists as the Lady Spikers swept last-place Tucumcari 25-14, 25-16, 25-21 at the Texico Sports Complex.
A win Saturday at Santa Rosa and Texico (14-5, 6-1) ties Estancia for the regular-season title. A playoff for the district’s top seed heading into next week’s postseason tournament is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at Santa Rosa.
“We wanted to work on our passing and serving,” Texico coach Mike Littlejohn said. “We played pretty well on offense for a game and a half, then we substituted and we lost some continuity.”
Tucumcari coach Nicole Lesly said her young team continues to show improvement.
“We did a pretty good job,” Lesly said. “We missed some crucial serves and had some net violations, and you can’t do that against a good team like Texico.”
Still, the Lady Rattlers (0-5 in district) pestered the taller Lady Spikers throughout the hour-long match, hanging tight in second game until the midway point and trading points for most of the third game.
Serving errors proved costly for the Lady Rattlers, especially in the second game.
“We knew serving was going to be important and we just made too many mental mistakes,” Lesly said.
Sophomore Jaime Jones led Tucumcari with three kills and freshman Corina Wilson added two kills and four blocks.
Loper, one of two Lady Spikers honored on Senior Night, admitted Texico lacked intensity.
“It was a time for everybody to get a chance to play,” Loper said. “And we kind of lost our focus.
“But Tucumcari was pretty scrappy.”