By Dave Wagner
CNJ sports writer
It looks as though the Clovis High volleyball team is about to cruise right into the Class 5A state tournament.
After a series of tough matches in the middle of the season, the Lady Wildcats have run roughshod through District 4-5A and all but locked up the regular-season title Tuesday night with a 25-18, 25-13, 25-12 rout of Hobbs at Rock Staubus Gym.
Clovis (12-7, 3-0 district) can wrap up the regular-season crown with no more than a close loss on Saturday at Carlsbad. (2-15, 0-2). Barring a major upset, the Lady Cats will host the district tournament final on Nov. 9.
Clovis trailed only briefly a couple of times early in the second set against the relatively young Lady Eagles (3-16, 1-2), who were coming in off a five-set win at Carlsbad on Saturday.
Junior right side hitter Shaylee Warner said the Lady Cats are trying to get ready for a possible state run.
“The competition should be a lot (tougher) there, but we should be all right,” Warner said. “We haven’t beaten very many teams in three (sets) this year, so to come out and do that is really nice.”
Coach Gabe Apodaca moved Warner from a middle position last year, where she did well, to an outside position this season to accommodate the team’s depth in the middle. As one of only a handful of juniors on the team, she’s hoping to return to the middle next season.
“It was (an adjustment) at first, but I’m getting the hang of it,” she said of the switch in positions. “I’m hoping to go back next year; I feel like I’m a better middle player.”
The Lady Cats rode solid performances from senior outside hitter Kyleigh Guthals (eight kills, eight digs, two blocks, one ace) and middle blocker Shea Mahan (eight kills, three blocks). Senior libero Andrea Aguilar added 23 digs and, at 5-foot-5, four kills, all from the back row.
Apodaca said he enjoyed the non-taxing win as well, noting the Lady Cats were coming off a tough four-set loss at Portales last week.
“I really felt the Portales (match) was a big one (in terms of preparation for postseason),” he said. “It wasn’t a must-win, but it gives us something different in the middle of district play.”
With four freshmen on the roster, Hobbs struggled to get anything going. The Lady Eagles, in fact, had only seven kills in the match — one less than either Guthals or Mahan.
“I think we bounced back well (from the Portales loss),” Apodaca said. “The biggest thing for us was finishing (the match). We’ve had a tendency when we get ahead to get a little lazy at the net.”