PREP VOLLEYBALL PLAYOFFS: CCS seeks deep run in postseason

Clovis Christian volleyball coach Ceil Boatman gives her team a pep talk during Thursday’s practice. (CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks)

By Greg Price: CNJ sports writer

Before the Clovis Christian volleyball team even began practice this season, coach Ceil Boatman sat her players down with some paperwork. The questions were simple, with the main one being, “What is your goal this season?”

Boatman said every Lady Eagles player wrote they at least wanted a district title, while almost half wrote a trip to the Class 1A state playoffs in Albuquerque.

Clovis Christian has already met the goal of a district title, and will begin its dream of winning a state title at 6 p.m. when it hosts Wagon Mound in a first-round state matchup at the CCS gym.

The Lady Eagles (16-5) were eliminated in what was the regional round of the playoffs last season.

Wagon Mound finished second last week in the 1-1A district tournament, losing to Roy in the championship match.

Boatman said CCS turned a corner after losing its regular-season district opener to Grady, a match in which CCS won the first two games.

“I think it set off a little spark in them,” Boatman said. “They up and decided that that’s not something they want to do. There was almost a change in attitude at that point, deciding exactly what they wanted and how they were going to go about obtaining it.”

Setter Sidnee Pool is the only senior for Clovis Christian, something she admits is a little tough.

“It’s a lot of pressure actually,” she said. “Everyone’s looking to what your doing.”

Jennifer Schaap, a 6-foot-3 sophomore outside hitter, said the team jelled by working together and learning the best way set up another teammate.

“We’ve wanted ( a trip to the Albuquerque rounds) forever,” Schaap said. “We’re all pretty close, and we talk all the time.”

Boatman said she knows little about Wagon Mound’s style of play, but Pool and Schaap agreed the lack of knowledge about their opponent should not affect their play.

Boatman likes her team’s chances of going deep into next week’s state tournament.

“If they will play Eagle volleyball,” she said of her players, “their chances are tremendous.”

Playoff capsules
Class 1A
Fort Sumner vs. Victory Christian
5 p.m. Saturday at Hope Christian H.S.
Records: Fort Sumner 14-7, Victory Christian 15-5
Last playoff appearance: Eventual champion Tatum bounced Fort Sumner from the playoffs last year en route to an undefeated season.
Coaches: Fort Sumner, Lisa McMath; Victory Christian, Glenn Frey.
District tournament: The Vixens earned second place in the District 3-1A tournament, losing to unbeaten Elida in four games in the finals.
Keys to the game: McMath said her team needs to play consistently while sticking to the power game they’ve developed over the season. Victory Christian is a team that serves well and hustles to the net for short tips, McMath said, making for a clash of styles.
Unsung heroes: Fort Sumner setter Rita Herrera tore her ACL and later came back for the Vixens. McMath credits her with leading the team by example and experience.
Quotable: “We need to not get caught playing another style.” — McMath.

Class 2A
Lordsburg at Texico
5:30 p.m. today
Records: Texico 18-3, Lordsburg 9-12.
Last playoff appearance: The Lady Wolverines took second place in last year’s state tournament, while Lordsburg is making its first postseason appearance since 1977.
Coaches: Texico, Mike Littlejohn; Lordsburg, Nacona Grijalva.
District tournament: The Lady Wolverines beat Clayton in the District 6-2A tournament finals, and has won six consecutive regular-season and tournament championships in district play. Lordsburg took second place in the 5-2A tourney, falling to Mesilla Valley in the finals.
Keys to the game: Littlejohn said Texico should continue to serve aggressively in order to put Lordsburg’s offense on its heels. But he added that Lordsburg is known to be a scrappy team and should not be underestimated.
Unsung heroes: Littlejohn stressed how freshmen Katlin Luscombe and Victoria Richards have improved their level of play.
Quotable: “If we serve like we serve and pass like we’re capable, that will set up our offense.” — Littlejohn.

— Compiled by Greg Price