The last time the Floyd Lady Broncos advanced to the New Mexico state volleyball tournament, Buster Douglas had recently handed Mike Tyson his first professional boxing loss, the San Francisco 49ers were the class of the NFL after winning their fourth Super Bowl, and George Bush was president of the United States — the first George Bush.
After an 18-year absence, the Floyd girls are back on the state volleyball court and according to first-year head coach Shelly McConnel it’s been a long time coming.
“They’re very excited about just being here,” McConnel said. “And I think they’re going to play well.”
“This means a lot to all of us girls to represent our school,” Floyd senior Jordan Terry said. “None of us have ever been to a state tournament and we’re so excited to play.”
Floyd begins pool play this morning at 10 a.m. against Magdalena, followed by matches against Tatum and Des Moines.
“(Pool play) is very, very important. You don’t want to open up with Fort Sumner and you don’t want to open up with Animas,” McConnel said. “If you play well in pool play, you won’t get placed in the bracket where you’re playing them first.”
McConnel knows all about the state championship experience. The Floyd volleyball coach went to the state basketball tournament three times in the ‘90s, winning a state championship in 1995.
“This is something that they’re going to have to experience for themselves,” McConnel said. “They get to come to the big town and they get to play in the big city and they get to be around other schools. It’s just really going to be exciting for them.”
McConnel also believes her girls are playing their best volleyball of the season.
After logging an unimpressive 3-5 district record, the Lady Broncos won two tough matches on the road — a five-game district semifinal at Dora and a four-game state first-round matchup at Clovis Christian.
“Against Clovis Christian the other night, we played the best we’ve played all year,” McConnel said.
“We definitely have a lot of momentum behind us,” Terry added. “We all have nerves just being here, but I think we’re ready to play and we’ll do well.”
After teams are seeded, the state quarterfinals are scheduled for Thursday morning at the University of New Mexico’s Johnson Center. The semifinal round is set for Friday morning with the championship game on Saturday night.
“They’re very confident,” McConnel said. “This is the first time that (this group) has been here so it’s an experience for them but they're very confident in going in and knowing that they can do well.”