Cleveland’s Haylie Griego dives and keeps a ball in play in the first set Tuesday evening, as teammates Aubrey Ortiz (1) and Sophia Bacahui (3) stand by if more help is needed. (Gary Herron/Observer)


Seeking a victory in its second meeting with city foe Rio Rancho on Tuesday evening, 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 (17-5, 6-1) 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.

CHS coach Charity Gomez said the victory over the Rams (14-7, 4-2) 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.”

The Storm made it look easy in the third set, as Sophia Bacahui served five consecutive points, helping the Storm pull away from a tie at 11 to a 16-11 lead. The Rams later got within two, 19-17, bhut a service error of their own got the serve back to Cleveland, and a kill by Ceci Gomez was the last point the Rams got.

The Storm leaped out to an 8-2 lead in the fourth set, playing near-errorless volleyball except for two service errors the rest of the way, and had a double-digit lead, 22-11, before ending the action.

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 Thursday evening to clinch their second district title in a row.

Hatch dealt out 36 assists; Heffner had seven kills and eight blocks; Snippen hit better than ,400 with nine kills; Maddie Del Greco added eight kills; Ortiz came up with 15 digs.

Dinks: The Storm close out the regular season Tuesday at last-place Atrisco Heritage Academy at 6:30.

… The Rams close out their regular season this week, with Volcano Vista visiting Tuesday, followed by a trip down the hill to meet Cibola in a match that determine second place, on Thursday. Both matches start at 6:30 p.m.

… The Rudy’s Real Texas Bar-B-Q Class 5A state volleyball tournament runs Nov. 10-12 at the Rio Rancho Events center. 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.  The semifinals are at noon on Nov. 12, with the championship match later that day at 5 p.m.