Clovis Christian senior Rachel Daale spikes the ball during Tuesday’s practice at the school. Photo by Eric Kluth
By Dave Wagner
Veteran Clovis Christian volleyball coach Ceil Boatman thinks the Lady Eagles have the ability to improve on last year’s 10-7 record.
CCS returns several regulars from last year’s squad, which opens its schedule at home on Sept. 2 against Roswell Gateway Christian. This is Clovis Christian’s third season as a member of the NMAA, although it is still trying to attain the necessary accreditation to be able to compete in postseason play.
“For the most part, the girls know the fundamentals,” said Boatman, who moved from her position as a physical education teacher to become CCS’ secondary principal this year. “Now it’s just a matter of getting back into a school mode.”
Seniors Rachel Daale, a 6-foot middle hitter-blocker, and Mara Bell, a 5-8 middle hitter-blocker, led the returnees. Another senior, 5-7 outside hitter Mikyhla Petty, is back out after not playing last season.
Also returning are 5-3 setters Melissa Gomez, a junior, and Mollie Peterson, a sophomore.
CCS struggled in District 4-1A play last year, going 3-7.
“I think it’s going to be more challenging,” Daale said of the upcoming season. “But we’re going to work harder and try to pick it up.”
Because of the closing of New Mexico Christian Academy in Portales at the end of the last school year, CCS has picked up a number of students. Several are participating in volleyball, and thus Boatman has a squad of 21 girls (eighth graders through seniors).
She said several camps over the summer have also helped her squad.
“We want to change our offense, maybe have a little quicker offense and start using the experience we have on the court,” Boatman said. “I feel like we have good competition on our schedule and we’ll be able to compete.
“I asked the girls to set goals — No. 1 as Christians representing our school, and No. 2 in terms of volleyball. They’ve got the talent, but they’ll have to utilize it.”
Daale, beginning her third season on the CCS varsity, said it was tough competing last year without a chance to go to the playoffs, something she hopes changes by the time this year’s postseason rolls around.
“This year, our goals are to play the best we can and be accredited so we can go to the playoffs,” Daale said.