Vixens cruise into 1A semifinals

Eric Butler

ROSWELL — If Thursday’s Class 1A volleyball quarterfinals at Roswell High were a case of “anything you can do, I can do better,” Fort Sumner (21-4) showed it was equally as impressive as two-time defending state champion Des Moines.

In stifling Carrizozo (16-7), Fort Sumner geared up for Friday’s semifinals against the undefeated Demons with an overwhelming performance. Kayla Britain paced all players with 18 kills as the Vixens pounded the Grizzlies 25-10, 25-14, 25-7.

Twins Kelly and Sandy Fortner also recorded eight kills apiece for Fort Sumner, while Tobea Patterson added six more.

“I thought we did a good job, especially with a lot of the new girls coming in — they handled the pressure really well,” Fort Sumner coach Lisa McMath said. “It was a concern, because they’ve been really nervous with some of the game. The two twins had never been in postseason play before.”

Des Moines handily swept Ramah in the other semi on the same court.

The Vixens broke open the first game with a six-point run behind the serve of Leslie Wood to go up 8-2. Another 6-0 streak, after the Grizzlies cut the lead to 19-10 late, finished off the opening game victory.

Carrizozo stayed within striking distance for most of game two. But an 8-7 Fort Sumner lead quickly turned into a 12-7 margin after a net violation on ‘Zozo was followed by kills from Kelly Fortner, an ace by Sandy Fortner, and a kill by Patterson.

Fort Sumner opened a 15-4 lead — after a kill by Britain was followed by eight points in a row off Britain’s serve in game three and never looked back.

A disappointing effort for Carrizozo was headed by Ariel Burr’s five kills.

“We don’t play a strong schedule and that’s not anybody’s fault; that’s just the way it is,” said Carrizozo coach Pam Allen, who coached at Artesia last year. “And that’s not helpful at all. But by the same token, Fort Sumner has a great volleyball team.”