Clovis setter Britni Montague, right, tips the ballpast Hobbs’ Candace McTizic during Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Hobbs at Rock Staubus Gym. Clovis clinched the regular-season district title with the victory. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
The Clovis High Lady Wildcats wanted no part of a squeaker Tuesday night — and any help they needed they got from Hobbs.
Taken to the five-game limit by the Lady Eagles in their first District 4-5A match in Hobbs, Clovis took advantage of a strong service game and an uninspired opponent in breezing to a 25-17, 25-18, 25-18 win at Rock Staubus Gym.
Clovis (11-8, 3-0 district) clinched the regular-season championship and will host either Hobbs or Carlsbad in the district tournament championship game Nov. 4. The Lady Cats finish their regular-season schedule at 2 p.m. Saturday against Carlsbad at The Rock.
Meantime, Hobbs (9-10, 1-2) can nail down the No. 2 seed Thursday night at Carlsbad, but either way those teams will meet again next week for the right to advance to the finals.
Senior Siobhan Flatow served nine aces in the match, including six in a row in the first game to turn a two-point lead into 23-15 command. The Lady Cats compiled 20 aces, including seven more by senior Britni Montague, to just four for Hobbs.
“We weren’t ready to play,” Lady Eagles coach Brenda Wilson said. “Clovis served us really tough, and our serve-receive really hurt us tonight.”
Flatow’s aces capped a 14-2 Clovis run that erased a four-point deficit, and the Lady Eagles never really recovered.
“We didn’t want to have to go on the road for a district (tournament) game,” said CHS senior libero Cynthia Lucio, who had six digs and an ace. “We just came out ready to go.
“In practice, we brought up that we needed to make teams come in here and play up to our level. We know we’re a good team.”
Clovis trailed early in the second game, but an ace by junior Samantha Ramos put the Lady Cats up 8-6. Flatow then got her other three aces in succession to open a 17-12 lead en route to a 2-0 edge in games.
The Lady Eagles took a 9-8 lead in the third game on a kill by junior middle hitter Diana Juarez, but it didn’t last long. Montague capped a 7-0 Clovis run with three aces, putting the Lady Cats up 19-11.
“Clovis got some blocks early, and they basically took us out of it,” Wilson said.
Senior Janell Gallegos, who has been slowed by an early-season ankle injury, had two of Clovis’ three blocks for points.
“Tonight, our block was big and effective,” CHS coach Darrel Ray said. “Janell stepped up and had her best match in some time. She played smart — she played like you hope a senior plays.”
“We talked about being consistent and being resilient. If we can keep (opponents’) runs at three points or less, we’ll be in good shape.”
Flatow added eight kills, while sophomore Lainey Flatow chipped in six. Juarez and junior middle Candace McTizic had six kills each for Hobbs.