ALBUQUERQUE — Over the last several years, if there’s a high-stakes playoff on the playing fields and courts of New Mexico, then you’re likely to see Clovis against Mayfield in some form.
Friday night’s Class 5A state volleyball semifinal was the latest installment as the Mayfield swept the Lady Wildcats 25-19, 25-18, 25-22 at the University of New Mexico’s Johnson Center to advance to Saturday night’s championship contest against Rio Rancho.
“Mayfield played a better game,” Clovis coach Darrel Ray said. “They were able to stay in their offense, they were able to get the ball to their big girls, and they were the better team tonight.”
Mayfield (15-8) built a steady lead in Game 1 on the strength of several kills from Franzoy Jena and Jessica Groen. Groen accounted for six kills down the stretch of the first game.
Clovis began to close the gap, but the Lady Trojans won four of the final six points to take the early match lead.
The Lady Cats (17-7) jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in Game 2 behind consecutive kills by senior outside hitter Lainey Flatow. The teams traded scoring runs before Mayfield closed out Game 2 by scoring 13 of the last 15 points.
Clovis owned the lead for much of Game 3, building a 15-11 advantage behind several kills from Flatow and a pair of aces by sophomore libero Felecia Aguilar.
But Mayfield closed Game 3 as it did the two before — putting together a triumphant scoring run at the end of the game.
Lady Cats senior outside hitter Leia Willis said much of the match was about Mayfield’s hitters finding the open spots on the floor.
“We did our best,” Willis said. “The blocks were hard to pull off and (defensively) we were in the spots we practiced in, they just happened to find the spots.”
Senior Meagan Baglien noted the Mayfield size advantage, especially Groen, who is more than 6-feet tall.
“Our back row picked up a lot,” Baglien said. “It just seemed like they could reach over our block — like it wasn’t doing any good.”
Despite the sour taste of the semifinal loss, many Clovis players talked about the satisfaction of making it that far — something Clovis hasn’t done in a decade.
“You always want to end your senior year with a big finish,” Baglien said. “We did what we came here to do. We came to get into the final four and compete and we did that.”