Texico’s Lori Richardson tips the ball over Eunice’s Jenny Pearson during their Class 2A Region C championship game Saturday at Texico. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
TEXICO — With their trip to state already in the bag, the Texico Lady Wolverines made things a lot easier on themselves.
Playing for seeding purposes in the Class 2A Region C final, Texico jumped on Eunice early Saturday and cruised to a 25-16, 25-14, 25-20 win over the Lady Cardinals.
Senior outside hitter Lori Richardson had 10 kills for the Lady Wolverines (18-5), who never trailed by more than a point in any of the three games.
Richardson noted that Texico went four games in an earlier win over the Lady Cardinals (13-9), and said she was surprised Saturday’s contest wasn’t closer.
“I expected it to go to five (games),” she said. “I think we got in their heads real quick and we just stayed on top of them.”
Stephanie Bailey’s ace staked Texico to a 2-0 lead in the first game, and the Lady Cardinals never caught up. Down 17-5, Eunice made a brief run to close to 21-16 before Richardson’s kill and Bryn Mayfield’s ace put an end to the threat.
Bailey’s back-to-back aces made it 4-1 in the second game, and Mayfield followed with consecutive aces for an 11-3 lead. The third game was close for a while before the Lady Wolverines ran off five consecutive points to lead 14-9.
“We got ahead and we were able to play more relaxed,” Texico coach Mike Littlejohn said. “I could tell we didn’t feel as much pressure today.”
He added that the Lady Cardinals left the door open for Texico on numerous occasions.
“We had a lot of ‘free balls’ today and left us with a lot of options (in the attack),” Littlejohn said. “When you have that, you’re able to keep the other team off-balance.”
Mayfield had eight of Texico’s 18 aces in the match, while Bailey collected four aces to go with five kills. Senior Lizet Orozco had eight kills for the Lady Cardinals.
Texico begins pool play at state with a 5 p.m. match on Wednesday against the Region A runnerup at Cibola High School in Albuquerque. The Lady Wolverines are making just their second trip to state since last winning the title in 2001, having been ousted twice in regional semifinals.
“We’re going to be ready,” Richardson said. “The adrenaline will be running through our veins. We have something to prove.”
Texico 3, Eunice 0
Eunice 16 14 20
Texico 25 25 25
Kills — Eunice, Lizet Orozco 8, Kynzi Davidson 2. Texico, Lori Richardson 10, Erika Autrey 6, Stephanie Bailey 5, Brittany Anderson 3, Whitney Spinks 3. Blocks — Eunice, none. Texico, Richardson 1. Digs — Eunice, n/a. Texico, S. Bailey 3, Faith Martin 3. Aces — Eunice, Davidson 2, four tied with 1. Texico, Bryn Mayfield 7, S. Bailey 4, Autrey 2, Brooke Bailey 2, Anderson 1, Sarah Johnson 1. Assists — Eunice, n/a. Texico, Mayfield 27. T — :57. Records — Eunice 13-9, Texico 18-5.