Clovis High’s girls are seeded ninth in the 12-team Class 5A state volleyball tournament beginning Thursday at the Santa Ana Center in Rio Rancho.
The Lady Wildcats are slated to face top-seeded Rio Rancho and No. 8 Sandia in pool play, which starts at 11 a.m. Thursday. Bracket play begins that night, with the championship match set for 6 p.m. on Saturday.
The Lady Cats (14-7), who have won nine of their last 11 outings, reached the state semifinals for the first time last season before losing in three games to eventual champion Mayfield.
Clovis coach Darrel Ray said that Rio Rancho deserves the No. 1 seed, noting the Rams’ four losses have come to opponents from Texas and Colorado, but he added that there isn’t a clear favorite.
“I don’t think anybody’s clearly above anybody else,” Ray said, “but they (Rio Rancho) have been better than anybody they’ve played in New Mexico. They’re probably the most formidable team.”
He noted that the Lady Cats have played well down the stretch.
“Hopefully, that’ll carry over, and we won’t be in shock-and-awe,” Ray said. “Hopefully, we’ll be ready to play.”
Clovis has faced only two of the 12 teams in the field, beating 11th-seeded Onate and 10th-seeded Rio Rancho Cleveland.
“We have a real difficult time scheduling Albuquerque teams because most of them don’t want to come to Clovis,” Ray said. “Everybody at state is capable of putting up a good match.”
Area teams seek repeats — Texico in Class 2A and Fort Sumner in Class 1A are looking for repeat state titles this weekend — and in the case of Texico, it would be a four-peat.
The Lady Wolverines (21-1) are paired with Navajo Prep, Mora and Bosque in their four-team pool, set to begin at 4 p.m. Thursday at Rio Rancho High. Fort Sumner (19-3) is matched up with Springer, Valley Christian and Animas, with pool play beginning at 4 p.m. at Cleveland H.S.
In the opposite pool in 1A, Grady (16-5) is bracketed with Floyd, Magdalena and Tatum.