Lady Cats cruise into semis

Clovis senior Dani Millender passes the ball during Tuesday’s District 4-5A tournament game at Rock Staubus Gymnasium. CNJ photo by Eric Kluth.

Dave Wagner

If the Clovis High Lady Wildcats were looking ahead to a possible championship showdown against Eldorado in Albuquerque, it wasn’t too obvious.
Facing a decimated Hobbs squad that they’d already routed twice, the Lady Cats dominated from start to finish Tuesday in blitzing the Lady Eagles 25-7, 25-17, 25-13 in the first round of the District 4-5A tournament at Rock Staubus Gym.
The Lady Cats host Manzano, which routed Carlsbad 25-12, 25-15, 25-14 on Tuesday, in Thursday’s 6:30 p.m. semifinal.
The winner is guaranteed a trip to regionals and gets top-seeded Eldorado (16-3) in the 4-5A finals.
“Coach Ray told us we needed to be up for them,” senior middle hitter Monique Walker said of Tuesday’s match. “We just needed to play our game. We’re just trying to concentrate on the games we’re playing.”
Walker collected 15 kills for the match, and credited her teammates’ passing with making her job easier.
Clovis quickly took control against a Hobbs squad which had lost four seniors to suspension earlier in the month and setter Lizzett Paz to a pinched nerve sustained in practice on Monday.
“Clovis is just a powerhouse playing against a bunch of inexperienced sophomores,” Lady Eagles coach Brenda Wilson said. “We just don’t have the skill right now that they do.
“We missed seven serves tonight, and you can’t do that against a team like Clovis. But Darrel’s done a really good job with this bunch the last three years, and I hope they go far.”
CHS (17-3) broke the school record for wins, set previously in 1998 (16-5) and last year (16-7), coach Darrel Ray said after the match.
The Lady Cats quickly took control in the first game. They collected eight points in the game on service aces — four of them by junior Roxanne Luera — and gave up five of the seven points scored by Hobbs (5-15) on their own errors.
“I thought we played pretty good,” Luera said. “We’re just looking forward to Thursday’s game. We just have to play hard and play the best we can, and then get ready for Eldorado.”
Ray went to his bench extensively in the second game, as is often his wont, but the Lady Cats never lost control. Sophomore Brianne Bracken’s ace put Clovis in front 2-0 and the margin generally stayed between four and eight points throughout.
With the starters back in for most of the third game, Clovis quickly assumed an 8-1 lead and never allowed Hobbs closer than six points the rest of the way.
“It’s just a tough matchup for (Hobbs); we just have too many athletes for them this year. But I think Brenda might do the best job of anyone in the district as far as putting people in the right position.”
Senior Tiffany Tabor led the Hobbs effort, collecting four kills and five blocks.