Lubbock Monterey’s Danielle Ratliff (11) slips a kill past the block attempt by Clovis’ Britni Montague (9) and Jasmine McDonald during Tuesday’s match at Rock Staubus Gym. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
Despite a three-game sweep of Clovis High on Tuesday night, first-year Lubbock Monterey volleyball coach Mandy Moffitt was less than thrilled by her team’s performance.
Her counterpart, Lady Wildcats coach Darrel Ray, didn’t think his squad played particularly well, either.
Monterey, playing its 27th match of the season, dropped the Lady Cats to 2-5 against Texas competition this fall with a 25-22, 25-19, 25-19 victory at Rock Staubus Gym. Still, Moffitt said it was far from her team’s best outing.
“I think we should’ve played a lot better,” she said after the Lady Plainsmen improved to 15-12. “I think we played down to Clovis a little bit. I just don’t think we played very well.”
It was good enough, though, as both teams struggled through hitting errors.
The Lady Cats (6-5) got 11 and eight kills, respectively, from sisters Lainey and Siobhan Flatow, but had no service aces and only two blocks — both by junior middle Jasmine McDonald — in the match.
“Lainey’s getting there,” Ray said of the sophomore outside hitter. “For her experience level, she’s doing a good job. But we’ve got to have balance and steady performance against anybody we play.”
He said the Lady Cats couldn’t muster the enthusiam required against a team like Monterey.
“The thing that bothered me tonight was our mental approach,” Ray said. “At times we just didn’t fire up. We didn’t fight as hard as we usually do.
“When they pressued us, we gave up some points we shouldn’t be giving up this time of year.”
Senior middle blocker Danielle Ratliff had 11 kills for the Lady Plainsmen, while senior outside hitter Margeaux Oliva added six kills.
Siobhan Flatow staked the Lady Cats to a 4-1 lead in the first game with a pair of kills, but Monterey eventually passed Clovis with five consecutive points. The Lady Plainsmen then took control of the second game with seven unanswered points to erase a 9-8 deficit.
With senior Cynthia Lucio on the service line, the Lady Cats ran off six points in a row for a 10-6 advantage in the third game, the surge capped by consecutive kills from Siobhan Flatow. They stayed in front until four consecutive hitting errors turned a one-point lead into an 18-15 deficit.
Senior outside hitter Janell Gallegos (sprained ankle) saw her first action since the season-opening Clovis Invitational, but didn’t appear to be at full strength. She finished with three kills.
“Tonight, it was important to go ahead and play here a little bit,” Ray said. “We wanted to get her back into it.”
The Lady Cats, though, may have lost another player when freshman Antiesha Brown rolled her ankle during the match. Ray said he hopes Brown can be ready by the team’s next outing, on Tuesday at Artesia.