By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent
The Clovis volleyball team got to experience the thrill of coming from behind to tie the score several times in the course of its match Saturday with top-ranked Sandia.
But actually going ahead? Unless you count a pair of 1-0 leads at the very beginning of games one and two, the Wildcats never got that particular feeling as Sandia swept the District 4-5A match 25-18, 25-16, 25-22 at Rock Staubus Gymnasium.
Clovis won the junior varsity contest 17-25, 25-14, 15-6.
The Matadors, with five players taller than Clovis’ tallest, wrested control of play each time the Wildcats got close.
“We’d get behind, then we have to work twice as hard to step up and keep coming back,” said Clovis sophomore Siobhan Flatow, a middle blocker who had four kills for the Wildcats — to go along with five by team-leader Roxanne Luera.
“We work hard now, but we need to step it up. When we get those couple of points, we need to take them and run with them,” Flatow said.
Rose Morris, a senior 6-foot-1 outside hitter, recorded 12 kills for Sandia while senior Jacqueline Paul, also 6-1, put away 10 kills from her middle blocker position.
Sandia (13-0, 2-0 in 4-5A) raced away from Clovis (3-12, 0-3) in game one by breaking a 3-3 tie with four straight points — part of an overall 14-4 run.
The second game was a back-and-forth affair until Sandia got into double-digits. Four straight ties, albeit without Clovis ever gaining the upper hand, ended when a block by Matadors’ setter Rachel Stuyvesant kicked off five straight points.
The tightest spot of the match for Sandia came in the third game. Heading toward victory with a 23-18 lead, the Matadors saw Clovis close to within 23-21 — on shots by Crista Maestas, Brianne Bracken and an ace by Laura Wood.
But Morris ended the home team’s momentum with a solid kill and, two plays later, Paul finished the match with a deft shot hit softly to an open spot in the Wildcat defense.