Lady Rattlers fall against Hot Springs


November 17, 2021

The Lady Rattlers ran into a proverbial buzzsaw during a 10-25, 8-25, 13-25 loss to host Hot Springs during the first round of the Class 3A volleyball tournament on Nov. 9.

Twelveth-seeded Tucumcari was an underdog to the fifth-seeded Truth or Consequences school, but their dominance still impressed Lady Rattlers coach Dana Benavidez.

“If they got No. 5, I’d like to see 1, 2, 3, 4,” she said. “They were really good. They ran a good offense, and their setter was really good. I expect them to do well.”

The Tigers totaled 22 kills during the match, compared to four for Tucumcari.

Logan Woods and Hannah Hawkins each pounded home a team-high 11 kills for Hot Springs, which improved to 17-7.

“They had four or five dominant hitters, so we struggled with blocking them,” Benavidez said. “It made it kind of rough. We served well and got some aces. But we never could put our offense together to score very much.”

Caylee Benavidez and Madison Dysart each totaled two kills for the Lady Rattlers, who ended their season with a 9-12 record.

Hot Springs jumped to double-digit leads in the first two sets as Tucumcari struggled to generate any sort of an offense.

Tucumcari also fell behind 11-1 in the third set but rallied behind the serving of Alexus Lafferty, Alexis Ramirez and Elena Gutierrez, who each scored aces. Lafferty scored three aces in a row at one point, and Gutierrez’s ace closed the gap to 15-12.

But Hot Springs scored 10 of the next 11 points to salt away the match.

“After a game like that, all you can do is tell them you’re proud of them for a season well done and that they’ll forever be a part of the program – especially the four seniors,” Benavidez said, referring to Gutierrez, Dysart, Amber Owen and Izabela Reid.

“They are good kids and have worked hard all year. They should be proud of themselves.”

This season’s Lady Rattlers squad was a notable one for winning its first district championship since 1979.

The Tucumcari squad also was an uncommonly deep one. During a victory last month against Pecos, all 13 players on the varsity roster registered a kill.

“We had people I could put in for different positions, and everybody was ready to contribute because they knew our offense,” Benavidez said. “I don’t like to focus on just the starting six. I tried to build our whole bench, and I think we did that successfully this year.”


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