As expected, Clovis High’s girls are well-positioned to win District 4-5A. The Lady Wildcats hope they have bigger fish to fry.
CHS bolted to a 12-1 lead in the first game against Carlsbad Tuesday night, then coasted the rest of the way in a 25-14, 25-22, 25-17 victory at Rock Staubus Gym.
Clovis (10-6, 2-0 district) has beaten each of the other two teams in the district, and could probably claim the top seed in the three-team tournament with a split of the final two matches.
The Cavegirls (3-13, 0-1), who had won two of their previous three outings coming in, played hard and made the match competitive, at least in stretches. It didn’t help that four of their players, including three regulars, were left at home due to the flu.
“It’s coming together,” said Carlsbad coach Carrie Erickson, trying to build a program that has struggled mightily in recent years. “I thought, all things considered, we played pretty well.”
Early on, though, it was all Clovis. Senior middle Antiesha Brown had three kills and a block, sophomore outside hitter Paige Gardner added two kills and senior setter Carissa Grummer contributed a block as Clovis rolled to a 9-0 lead.
Grummer’s ace made it 12-1 before the Cavegirls stemmed the tide somewhat.
“We knew Carlsbad should be a little softer target tonight than maybe what we’ve faced recently,” Lady Cats coach Darrel Ray said. “I thought we played real good in Game 1. Then in Game 2, I thought our passing disappeared for a while.”
Clovis never trailed in the second game, but with Ray rotating players in and out the Cavegirls eventually erased a nine-point deficit and pulled even 22-22 on a kill by junior outside hitter Ashley Pearce.
An attack error by the Cavegirls gave Clovis the lead and the serve, and Grummer tipped a ball into an open space over the Carlsbad front row for a two-point lead. Pearce’s attack error on set point put the Lady Cats up two games.
Clovis opened a 17-6 lead in the third set, and never allowed the Cavegirls closer than eight points.
“We did everything pretty good tonight,” said Gardner, who finished with eight kills. “Everyone makes mistakes, but we just have to work on fixing that.”
Brown finished with a match-high 14 kills. Meantime, the Cavegirls got eight kills and 10 digs from sophomore outside hitter Shannon Niemeir and four kills, seven digs and three blocks from sophomore middle Taylor Edmondson.
“For the first time in a while, we had fun tonight,” Erickson said. “We played much better in Game 2, but in Game 3 we looked tired.
“We’ve got three district (matches) left, and hopefully we can continue to build.”