Cleveland front-liners Lylah Moreno, left, and Lauren Snippen combine to try and block a would-be kill from Rio Rancho’s Victoria Echerivel in the Storm’s 3-1 victory over the visiting Rams on Oct. 25. (Herron photo)


Seeking a victory in its second meeting with city foe Rio Rancho on Oct. 25, the Cleveland High School volleyball team maintained its quest to repeat as District 1-5A volleyball champs after a 25-21, 22-25, 25-18, 25-14 victory over visiting Rio Rancho.

All that remained for the Storm (18-5, 7-1) was a victory two nights later over visiting Volcano Vista, which the Storm swept Oct. 11 in the Ring of Fire – and the Storm accomplished that mission with a sweep on Senior Night.

The Rams then polished off visiting Volcano Vista (23-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-16) on Nov. 1, celebrating Senior Night and giving coach Manzanares his 500th career win.

Victory 501 came two nights later, when the Rams (16-7) claimed second place in 1-5A with a hard-fought 25-21, 27-25, 28-26 victory down the hill at Cibola.

CHS coach Charity Gomez said the victory over the Rams may have been sparked by a change in terminology she made earlier.

“I was using the word ‘attacking,’ like, ‘Let’s be real good attackers.”’ I changed my word to ‘scorers.’

“I feel like we’re trying a little bit more … we’re trying to score now. We were trying to attack it hard,” she said. “I think – I want to believe – that since I changed my wording, there’s a little more focus on scoring.”

It paid dividends.

“We played clean volleyball, except that second set,” she said. “We were a little off in our serving in the second (when we had three service errors), but once we kind of came back and played clean volleyball, we were able to handle it.”

Marian Hatch had 45 assists, Aubrey Ortiz had 25 digs, while Lauren Snippen, with 12 kills, and Kelsey Heffner, with 11 kills, paced the Storm’s front line.

Ceci Vance had a game-high 17 kills for the Rams, and Ashleigh Meyer came up with 13 digs.

Storm 3, Hawks 0: Cleveland wiped out the Hawks 25-20, 25-13, 25-11 two nights later to clinch their second district title in a row.

Hatch dealt out 36 assists; Heffner had seven kills and eight blocks; Snippen had nine kills; Maddie Del Greco added eight kills; Ortiz came up with 15 digs.

Storm 3, Atrisco Heritage 0: Cleveland ended the regular season Nov. 1 with an easy 25-3, 25-16, 25-15 victory.

Rams 3, Hawks 1: After spotting the Hawks a first-set win – a game that was tied 20 times — the Rams got serious and took a 23-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-16 victory in the RAC.

Vance led the way with 19 kills.

Dinks: The Rudy’s Real Texas Bar-B-Q Class 5A state volleyball tournament runs Nov. 10-12 at the Rio Rancho Events Center; see for the 5A bracket. First-round matches are at 11:30 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. on Nov. 10. The quarterfinals take place Nov. 11 at 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.  Semifinals are at noon on Nov. 12; the championship is that day at 5 p.m.

… In MaxPreps’ final 5A rankings, Cleveland is No. 2 and Rio Rancho is No. 6.