Clovis senior Alissa McDowell passes the ball to the front row during Tuesday’s match against Carlsbad at Rock Staubus Gymnasium. Photo by Eric Kluth
By Dave Wagner
Getting back on the winning track was a relative breeze Tuesday night for the Clovis High Lady Wildcats.
Coming off a tough five-game loss at home on Saturday to District 4-5A powerhouse Eldorado, the Lady Cats made short work of a young, struggling Carlsbad squad with a 25-9, 25-15, 25-20 sweep at Rock Staubus Gym.
The Lady Cats (12-2, 2-1 district) dominated the Cavegirls in the first game, then put together workmanlike performances in the next two to finish off the match in just over an hour.
“It was a little too much experience and size against their lack of experience and size,” CHS coach Darrel Ray said. “Everyone got in there tonight, and I thought everyone contributed.”
Clovis broke open a 2-2 tie in the first game by scoring seven consecutive points with junior Roxanne Luera on the service line. Senior middle hitter Monique Walker did much of the damage with three kills.
Senior outside hitter Jessica Hohn took over in the second game, collecting seven kills as the Lady Cats broke away late. Reserve Tyisha Brown helped Clovis take control with a kill and a block on consecutive rallies, pushing the Lady Cats in front 12-9.
With Hohn converting four kills, the Lady Cats scored the final eight points of game 2 — the last seven with Walker serving.
“We picked it up tonight and played how we know how to play,” said Hohn, who led a balanced offensive attack with 11 kills and also contributed three aces. “Everyone played hard, and I thought we all played together.”
Hohn said the team needed to get back on track quickly after Saturday’s setback.
“Coming off that loss, we knew we had to pick it up,” she said. “We just said, ‘Let’s go out and play hard.’”
Carlsbad (1-8, 0-2) went ahead 10-9 in the third game when sophomore middle blocker Micah Pruett put down a Clovis overpass, but Luera’s kill started a 6-0 run that gave the Lady Cats the lead for good.
“We haven’t had these kids long enough to do anything elaborate,” said Carlsbad’s Doug Lynn, who co-coaches the Cavegirls with wife Alissa, both former college players. “We haven’t played any team all year that we haven’t had down in the second or third game, and then somehow we lose the momentum. But that just comes with experience.”
Ray said that while Clovis subbed throughout the final two games, the Cavegirls picked up their play and made things a little tougher.
“We felt like they were going to roll over, but they just kept scrapping,” he said. “I thought they stepped up (in the second and third games). In the first game, they looked a little intimidated.
“We don’t want to let down when we make substitutions. We invariably have that, but I understand that to some extent.”
Walker finished with 10 kills, while senior Alissa McDowell added nine and sophomore Aimee Hilburn seven for the Lady Cats.
Clovis won the junior varsity preliminary over the Cavegirls 25-16, 25-14, improving to 9-4 for the season. Meantime, the CHS “C” team ran its record to 6-8 with a 25-10, 25-16, 25-12 sweep of Portales-based Faith Temple.