By Dave Wagner
Not that they’re looking ahead, but the Clovis High Lady Wildcats have a mission this week — beat Eldorado.
In order to do that, they’ll have to take care of business against Hobbs on Tuesday night and either Manzano or Carlsbad on Thursday night at Rock Staubus Gym. That would put the second-seeded Lady Cats (16-3) into the finals of the District 4-5A tournament against the top-seeded Lady Eagles (16-3) on Saturday in Albuquerque.
Clovis coach Darrel Ray said the Lady Cats are gearing their practices this week toward getting ready for a showdown with Eldorado, which beat them twice to take the district’s regular-season title. They’ve had virtually no problems with any of the other district teams.
“it seems like everyone’s been able to play them close, but nobody’s been able to beat them,” Ray said.
The top two teams advance to regional play the following weekend, likely matched up against Las Cruces and Las Cruces Mayfield out of District 2.
Hobbs (5-14, 0-8 district) has been depleted by personnel losses for disciplinary reasons. Manzano (11-8, 4-4) was third in the district and has played reasonably well against Eldorado, but the Lady Monarchs have struggled with Clovis.
“We don’t mind playing through the tournament,” Ray said. “We’d much rather be playing that practicing this time of year — as long as we don’t lose.”
The Lady Eagles rallied to beat Clovis in five games here earlier in the season, then won in four at home.
Ray said the Lady Cats are healthy entering the tournament. Senior backup outside hitter Vanessa Vaca was held out of Saturday’s 3-0 win over Manzano after turning an ankle in practice on Thursday, but Ray said she should be available.
Playoff for Texico — The top seed in District 6-2A will be determined tonight when the Texico Lady Spikers (15-5) match 7-1 district records with Estancia (16-3) on a neutral court in Santa Rosa.
Estancia has taken two of three matches between the teams this season, including a semifinal match in the Cloudcroft tournament in September. Texico will be without sophomore outside hitter Lori Richardson, who is away at a national FFA convention in Louisville until Thursday.
Veteran Texico coach Mike Littlejohn said Richardson leads the team in kills this season, and is one of the leaders in service aces.
“Nobody’s going to be able to just carry us,” he said. “Each kid is just going to have to play a little better. But anytime you step on the court anything can happen.”
After years of dominating district foes, Texico has had its hands full with the Lady Bears this season.
“They’re all back from last year,” he said of the Lady Bears. “They have a couple of real good hitters and a good setter. They have the experience that we’re just now getting as we play.”
Class 1A — Fort Sumner settled for the No. 2 seed in District 3-1A behind Elida. The Vixens will meet the winner of Tuesday’s Vaughn-Melrose matchup on Thursday in the semifinals, while Elida will host Tuesday’s Dora-Floyd survivor in the other semifinal.
In District 4-1A, the Grady Lady Bronchos also have a No. 2 seed, and will face the winner of Tuesday’s San Jon-Logan matchup. The championship match will be on Saturday night at House.