By Dave Wagner
If there was a chance the Clovis High Lady Wildcats would overlook Carlsbad in tonight’s 7 p.m. District 4-5A matchup at Rock Staubus Gym, that went out the window on Saturday.
The Lady Cats had hoped to take the district race by the throat, but instead dropped a five-game decision to Eldorado that senior middle blocker Alissa McDowell said “was a real heartbreaker.”
CHS (11-2, 1-1 district) had an opportunity to sweep the defending district champion and Class 5A state runnerup Lady Eagles, but couldn’t finish the deal. Eldorado rallied from an 8-3 deficit to win the deciding game 15-11.
“The fifth game is definitely one we should have won, but their server just kept racking up points on us,” McDowell said.
She said the opponent on the other side of the net doesn’t matter at this point. The Lady Cats simply can’t afford another loss.
“In the rest of the district, I’d like to see us sweep everybody in three games,” McDowell said. “We need to pick it up the rest of the way.”
CHS coach Darrel Ray said he knows little about the Cavegirls, other than they have a new coach.
“The last couple of years, they’ve been kind of down,” Ray said. “About three years ago, they were to the point where we had to play this team in the semifinals of (the district tournament.)”
Like McDowell, Ray isn’t in the mood to take anything for granted. He said the team worked on areas it needed to improve on in practice on Monday, rather than focusing on the Cavegirls.
“What was disappointing (on Saturday) was that we had an 8-3 lead in game five,” Ray said. “You’ve got to perform in the big games at clutch moments; we simply didn’t do it, and (Eldorado) did.
“If we don’t approach teams as if they’re the world’s worst nightmare coming through the door, then we’re not that good either. I’m certainly not going to take them lightly.”