Storm junior Marian Hatch came up short on this potential “dig,” but had an amazing 38 digs in her team’s sweep at St. Pius X Tuesday evening. (Herron photo)
High school volleyball fans have their choice of two home matches in the City of Vision tonight (Aug. 25).
The Rio Rancho High School squad opens its varsity season at 6:30, facing the St. Pius Sartans.
Also at 6:30, Cleveland plays its second match of the season against the visiting Los Lunas Tigers.
Cleveland opened its season with a sweep of St. Pius in the Sartan Garden Tuesday evening.
After six service errors in the opening set, the Storm settled down, winning 25-16, 25-12, 28-26.
The first set was tied seven times before Cleveland advanced from a 17-13 edge to a 21-14 lead behind two kills from Lylah Moreno and one apiece from Lauren Snippen and Madelyn del Greco, all seniors – conveniently set by fellow senior Marian Hatch.
The Storm never trailed in the second set, putting it away after a pair of kills from del Greco and a winner by Moreno.
Surprisingly, after that easy win, the Storm had a battle on their hands in the third set.
A 5-1 lead didn’t last long, and the Sartans grabbed the lead at 14-13, with the Storm staying close and tying it at 16-, 18-, 19-, 20- and 21-all.
A Sartan service error gave the Storm a 22-21 lead and a kill by junior Petra Fritz made it 23-21.
Each team got to set points, only to see the team on the other side of the net knot the score at 25- and then 26-all.
Finally, a combo block by Moreno and Snippen put the Storm at match point and an unforced error by the Sartans resulted in the sweep.
Stas compiled by assistant coach Diana LaCour told the story behind the victory: ten kills from del Greco, nine by Fritz and eight from Moreno; Hatch had 38 assists, just two fewer than the total points amassed by her team.
Libero Aubrey Ortiz had 13 digs and Kelsey Heffner chipped in with three blocks.
“We just had too many errors – service errors and attack errors,” CHS coach Charity Gomez said, when asked about the difficulty trying to close it out. “That’s what I’m talking about; I’m a little nervous about it.
“We’ll fix it (Wednesday) and we’ll have to be way better Thursday,” Gomez said. “We’ve got a lot of attackers. As long as we’re passing and kinda getting some rhythm, we’ll be hard to deal with, I’m sure.”
Hatch, a six-rotation player, “went down with a ankle injury (in a scrimmage) Saturday, “ Gomez noted. “So she was a little gimpy tonight. She wanted to play real badly.”
No, Gomez was told, Hatch played “goodly.”
Hatch said she was cautious, but, “At the same time, my team needs me,” she said, estimating she was at about 80 percent.
“I was, like, I can’t miss that first game,” she said. “If we went to four (sets), I would have been totally fine with it. … It was tiring, but at the same time, it was in the moment. You kinda not notice till after the game.”
Despite 38 assists, she said, “It definitely could have been a lot better.”
She also hoped to serve better, after committing four service errors vs. the Sartans.
“We’re trying to get some tempo with our offense,” Gomez said. “It’s going to take us a little bit, but I thought our passing was good and I think we’ll get that eventually. It’s hard when you’re missing serve after serve – it’s hard to get rhythm.”
(See the Rams’ and Storm’s 2022 schedules in the Aug. 28 edition of the Observer.)