By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers
FLOYD — It was hard telling from Fort Sumner senior Tobea Patterson just who had won.
“Our passes were not good at all tonight,” she said. “The intensity was really bad, too.”
Except for a brief hiccup in Game 3, though, the Vixens barely worked up a sweat Tuesday night in rolling to a 25-6, 25-8, 25-20 District 3-1A victory over Floyd.
Senior twins Sandy and Kelly Fortner are the Vixens’ marquee players, but Patterson and fellow senior Kayla Britain were too much around the net for the Lady Broncos (6-13, 1-6 district) in this one.
“They’ve really stepped up,” Vixens coach Lisa McMath said. “They’re doing a good job of helping lead our team.
“Each time you step out there you’re trying to get better. There’ll come a time where you can’t afford to fall apart for five or 10 points.”
Fort Sumner (12-3, 5-0), which has finished either second or third for three consecutive years at state after winning a championship in 2000, appeared ready to walk through the match before Floyd suddenly came to life in the third game.
Trailing 3-2, the Lady Broncos gained possession and tied the score on a service error by Sandy Fortner, then ran off 11 of the next 13 points for a 14-5 cushion. Senior Noel Carpenter had a block and a kill and freshman Rachel White served two aces during that run.
“I wish we could’ve played the first and second games like we played at the start of the third,” Floyd coach Sean Wootton said. “I think the third game we finally relaxed a little bit, and the girls started to do the little things that have helped us in the past.”
After Sandy Fortner’s kill got the ball back for Fort Sumner, the Vixens ran off nine points with Lindsay Mansell on the service line to take the lead. She had three aces in the run, and the Lady Broncos contributed several hitting errors.
Sandy Fortner’s back-to-back kills put Fort Sumner in front for good 18-16 and Patterson, who had a team-high eight kills to go with two blocks, finished it off with a kill.
“They’ve got good athletes, and Lisa’s a great coach,” Wootton said. “The knowledge of the game she has is second to none.”
Patterson admitted that the lopsided nature of the match contributed to the lack of intensity.
“But I wouldn’t want to be playing at our peak right now,” she said. “We want to be ready for state. This is our last chance.”
Fort Sumner, which is 2-2 against Tatum and has also lost to Class 3A West Las Vegas, finished the match with 14 aces to five for Floyd.
“We just need to be more focused now so we can be ready when state comes,” said Britain, who had six kills, two blocks and two aces. “We just really want to win it.”