Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Tucumcari volleyball team notches big victory


October 3, 2018

Ron Warnick

Tucumcari's Aaliyah Brown, right, tries to block a spike by a Santa Fe Indian School attacker during a volleyball match Saturday at the Snake Pit.

The Tucumcari volleyball team notched its biggest victory of the season with a come-from-behind 24-26, 15-25, 25-14, 25-21, 15-9 win at seventh-ranked Raton on Thursday.

The Lady Rattlers (2-12) for a while looked as if they would knock off their second ranked team in a week Saturday, but they fell to No. 2 Santa Fe Indian School by a 23-25, 9-25, 22-25 score.

Raton, ranked in Class 3A, fell to 5-3 overall.

"We had a great game," Tucumcari coach Dena Benavidez said of the victory over the Tigers. "It was a team effort. We just kept pushing through."

Lorin Chavez served 29 times during the Raton match and notched 20 points.

Benavidez said she made a rotation change midway through the Raton match that put her team's top hitter, Jasmine Jones, in the front row and libero defensive specialist Bryanna Arias in the back. The result: Jones received more attack opportunities (12 kills) and more saves for Arias (18 digs).

"Bryanna got to every ball that was sent her way, and she passed phenomenal," Benavidez said, who also singled out setter Kalani French for giving Tucumcari's offense more potency.

Kalani French also made 10 kills and 32 assists during the match.

At home against the Lady Braves (9-1), the Lady Rattlers surged to a 10-6 lead in the first game. SFIS rallied to tie it 12-12, and it remained that way until the Lady Braves went on a mini-run after a 23-23 tie to win the game.

SFIS jumped to 15-7 lead in the second game and cruised. In game three, the Lady Braves went on a 10-0 run to take a 21-11 lead. But Tucumcari went on an 8-0 run of its own to close the game to 20-22 before falling 22-25.

"In the first and third games, we played the No. 2 team tough, and that shows a lot of heart," Benavidez said. "If we serve well and continue to do things fundamentally sound, we can play with the best of them. My girls are on the move."

Although the Lady Rattlers hung tough, they seldom got their offense going consistently because of the Lady Braves' service game. That was by design, SFIS coach Brian Gurele said.

"We're known for our serving, and in that second game we took control of that and started being more aggressive at the net," he said. "We want to keep everyone off-balance."


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