It’s over! Celebrating the match’s final point in their exciting 3-2 victory over Cibola Tuesday evening are Ella Lopez (10), Kiya Wilson (5), Ashleigh Meyer (3), Ceci Vance (12), Kiya Wilson (4) and Ceci Gomez (8). (Herron photo)
The city’s varsity volleyball teams, coming off victories over Cibola last week, square off Tuesday at 6:30 in the Thunderdome for undisputed possession of first place in District 1-5A – for a few days, at least.
Rio Rancho (14-6 overall, 4-1 in 1-5A) and Cleveland (15-5, 4-1) are seemingly playing their best, although each managed to prolong its matches with the Cougars (12-7, 3-2).
Rams 3, Cibola 2: It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t necessarily expected, but the Rams’ Tuesday evening victory in the RAC not only ended the Rams’ 10-match losing streak to Cibola but also kept them in the hunt for the district title.
Coach Toby Manzanares said his former standout libero, Christina Norton, had beaten his Rams all nine times the teams had met since she became the head coach.
Truth be told, those in the RAC Tuesday evening would tell you the Rams should have won in four sets, if not three. Officially, it goes down as a 24-26, 25-15, 25-27, 25-15 Rams victory.
In the decisive fifth set, last tied at 6, a kill and a dunk by Wilson took the Rams to a 9-6 lead and they never trailed again. Vance then ended the battle with a kill.
“This game’s fickle, man,” Manzanares added. “You can do everything right and lose a point. You can do everything wrong and still win the point. We still have to pass, pass distributing and giving our hitters a chance to take quality swings for kills.”
And that they did.
The Rams then swept visiting Atrisco Heritage Academy Thursday evening, 25-11, 25-8, 25-14.
Storm 3, Cibola 2: Two nights later, the Storm just couldn’t close out the struggling Cougars, winning the first two sets (25-19, 25-23) before an impressive 8-0 run by the host Coogs led to their 25-18 win in the third set.
A 6-0 run in the fourth set, a 25-14 Cibola victory, showed everyone a fifth set would be needed to determine the winner.
The Storm huddled as player after player, starting with senior libero Aubrey Ortiz, “rallied the troops” … loudly.
Coach Charity Gomez she’d urged Ortiz “to go into that huddle and you tell your team that we’re gonna win this. And you get them together, and they will follow you. If you believe in them, they will do it. Go tell them that’s what’s gonna happen right now.”
Storm 3, Sandia 1: On Tuesday, the Storm won at Sandia, 25-13, 27-25, 21-25, 25-16.
Coming soon to a gym near you
After the Rams-Storm showdown Tuesday, the Rams host Volcano Vista Nov. 1 and head to Cibola Nov. 3. The Storm entertain Volcano Vista Oct. 27 and end the regular season Nov. 1 at Atrisco Heritage Academy. All matches start at 6:30 p.m.
The state tournament is set for Nov. 10-12 at the Rio Rancho Events Center.
Dinks: According to MaxPreps, Tess Fuqua of Centennial High is the state’s best volleyball player. She provided 586 kills and 144 digs last season for the Hawks, who fell to La Cueva in the 5A semis.