ALBUQUERQUE — The way the Rio Rancho High School volleyball team played Tuesday in the first set of its match “down the hill” at Cibola, the Rams looked primed to be swept.
The way the fifth-ranked Rams (13-6, 2-2 in 1-5A) played in the second set, they looked poised to pull off a victory.
In the end, the No. 3 Cougars (14-2, 3-1) proved too good to be upset and the Rams were defeated, 25-16, 18-25, 25-15, 25-16.
Taking advantage of unforced errors and eventually three service errors by RRHS, the Cougars opened the match on a 16-6 run and led most of the set by double digits.
The Rams survived four service errors in the second set, in which they never trailed and looked entirely different from the team that had been drubbed in the opening set.
The Cougars then committed an uncharacteristic six service errors in the third set, when they pulled away from a tie at 14, en route to an 11-1 run to put it away. CHS senior Abigail Carlsen was deadly on that run, with a pair of kills and three “dinks” that tallied points.
The Rams, who’d dropped a 3-2 match to the Cougars in the APS Metro Tourney in September, hung tough halfway through the deciding set, down 15-12 before Cibola went on another run.
A 6-0 run took Cibola to a 21-12 edge, with Carlsen and teammate Jasmine Martinez forces to be reckoned with at the net and sealing the deal.

(To read more about the city’s volleyball teams, be sure to check out the Oct. 24 issue of the Rio Rancho Observer!)

RRHS libero Jenny Baker (4) and Ella Lopez (10) watch as a Cibola kill eludes Cece Vance on the back row Tuesday evening.