Serving the High Plains

Logan falls to Melrose in district championship

MELROSE - In what may have been a preview of this week's Class 1A state volleyball championship, Melrose defeated Logan 25-19, 25-20, 25-12 in the District 6 tournament championship Saturday night.

Melrose (19-0) and Logan (18-4) have been firmly planted in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively, in the and coaches' polls in Class 1A for weeks. But Melrose has easily won its four matches this year against Logan - a turnaround from last season when the Lady Longhorns won four of five, including the state title match.

The loss Saturday had Logan coach Robert Young searching for answers against the Lady Buffaloes.

"They outplayed us, that's for sure," he said. "I don't know ... I thought we were ready, but they got after us. We struggled in spots. They got us a few times with their serve, and they knocked the ball around our block or through our block.

"We'll just have to reload, I guess, and try to do some things to counteract them a little bit. We'll have to have a super game (to beat Melrose). We've got to forget about this and get ready for next week."

Miscues continued to be a problem for Logan. The Lady Longhorns totaled 15 hitting errors and eight serving errors. The Lady Buffaloes totaled just eight hitting errors and five serve errors.

If it's any consolation to Logan, Melrose coach Casey Jackson acknowledged his team is performing at a high level.

"That's probably the best we've played them this year," he said.

Jordan Hines led Logan with 12 kills and four blocks. Karli Webb added eight kills.

In somewhat of a surprise, Deajha Downey led Melrose with 13 kills. Both coaches weren't expecting that from the senior co-captain.

"She always plays solid, but she had more kills than normal tonight," Jackson said.

"That was the best she played against us this season," Young said. "She kind of came into her own against us."

Much of the first game was tight until Melrose went on an 8-1 run - fueled by four Downey kills - to take a 21-14 lead that proved decisive.

Melrose took a double-digit lead in the second game until Logan went on a 13-4 run to tighten it, 21-20. Melrose scored the last four points of the game to secure it, but Jackson said long rallies such as Logan's can't happen again in the postseason.

"We're going to work on not giving up such long runs," he said.

Melrose took another double-digit lead in the third game and made it stick.

Despite his team's season-long dominance, Jackson wasn't quick to assume his team and Logan's would be in the state-title match.

"It's going to be a tough tournament," he said. "There's going to be 10, 12 quality teams there. Every game is going to be a battle."

Tularosa 3, Tucumcari 0

Tucumcari fell in the District 4 championship game 16-25, 24-26, 18-25 Saturday at host Tularosa, ranked No. 1 in Class 3A.

The Lady Rattlers fell to 11-11 overall. Jasmine Jones led the team with 12 kills.

"We started out very strong against them," Tucumcari coach Dana Benavidez said. "They're the No. 1 seed in 3A, and we played with them."

Tularosa improved to 19-2.

Tucumcari 3, Dexter 1

The Lady Rattlers advanced to the district title match with a 27-25, 10-25, 25-17, 25-21 win Thursday over Dexter.

Jones led Tucumcari with 12 kills, while Reece Goldston and Aaliyah Brown each had five.

"We prepared all week for this game," Benavidez said. "We played at a high level of intensity and played as a team. We serve-received well. We had many very long volleys in which the girls played under control and won the points."

Benavidez also singled out the back-row play of Emily Lopez, Arissa Griego and Alexus Lafferty for "minimizing kills for Dexter."

Dexter fell to 6-14.

Logan 3, Fort Sumner 0

Logan dispatched of Fort Sumner in the District 6 tournament semifinal with a 26-24, 25-17, 25-22 win Thursday.

Hines led Logan with 10 blocks with 12 kills, and Webb totaled 15 kills.

"We started the match with several unforced errors due to nerves, I believe," Young said. "We played better as the match went on."

Fort Sumner fell to 11-11.

Fort Sumner 3, Grady/San Jon 0

Grady/San Jon fell in the District 6 tournament quarterfinals by a 22-25, 18-25, 24-26 score on Nov. 5.

"I think my team came out strong," Lady Bronchos coach Rebecca Burns said, "but every time we got a little run going, we would error or Fort would make a tremendous play to kill our momentum. I don't think we ever got going except for a stretch in the third."

Grady/San Jon ended the regular season with a 9-13 mark.

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