Category Archives: Bronco Volleyball

Broncos down Bulldogs for sixth-straight conference win

Gabriela Langi delivers a spike on one of her 15 kills on 28 attempts. She had a .429 hitting percentage on offense and two block assists on defense.

NMMI Sports Press

Megan Martinez with a successful attack in the first set. Martinez had a .500 hitting percentage on the night.

The NMMI Bronco women’s volleyball team [18-7, 6-0] upended the visiting Clarendon College Bulldogs [8-16, 1-5] in four sets, earning their sixth-straight WJCAC win on Wednesday night at the Cahoon Armory gym, keeping their perfect conference record intact.

NMMI started the match with two dominant set wins, taking the first 25-16, then bettering that score, 25-11, in the second.

“We started off in a really good rhythm in the first and second sets,” said head Bronco coach Shelby Forchtner.  “Then we gave some kids an opportunity to get in and play. Some of them handled their business, and some of them didn’t. We really struggled and were very error prone in that third set, which we were not in the first two – the dynamic on the floor changed and shifted a bit.”

In that third set, NMMI was up 13-6, but let the Bulldogs come back for the win, 25-23.

Violeta Quintana delivers a kill during the second set.

NMMI stormed back, with their starters on the court, taking the final fourth set 25-20.

“Lisi [Langi] has been playing very well in our last few matches and she carried that over into tonight’s match,” said coach Forchtner. Langi was the kill leader for the Broncos, knocking down 15 shots on 28 attempts.

“Megan [Martinez] played really well, as did Hula [Crisostomo],” continued Forchtner.

Martinez had the top hitting percentage for NMMI (.500) and also tied for top slot in the block assist column: Martinez, Violeta Quintana and Katelynn Gutz had three block assists each.

Crisostomo dug out 13 Clarendon attacks, just two behind digs leader Barbara Celler’s 15.

Hula Crisostomo with a dig during the first set against Clarendon College.

Next up for NMMI will be the Iowa Reiver Invitational in Council Bluffs, Iowa of Friday and Saturday Oct. 12-13. This will be the final regular-season tournament for the Broncos, with the rest of way slated with the remainder of WJCAC matches.

“This is going to be a super-competitive tournament for us to finish up on, and I think that’s a good thing,” state Forchtner. “This team seems to step up and play better against really good competition and so I hope that for our final tournament that they go and do work. We really need to get back into an offensive and defensive rhythm – we’ve struggled a bit in our last few matches with consistency. We’ve got two or three people playing well, but it’s not four or five like it was earlier in the season. We’ve got to get back to that point where everyone’s firing on all cylinders and our defense in really clicking.”

NMMI moves to 5-0 in the WJCAC after defeating Midland in three sets

NMMI freshman Katelynn Gutz goes up for the attack over the middle against Midland College, Gutz finished with 6 kills to help the Bronco’s down the Lady Chaps in 3 straight sets. Photo Courtesy: Rene Aguilar

NMMI Sports Press

The New Mexico Military Institute Bronco volleyball team defeated the Midland College Chaps in three straight sets 25-23, 25-20, and 25-16 on Wednesday in Cahoon Armory Gym.

In the first set NMMI was ahead 16-12 when the Chaps called a time out. The Chaps almost came back and took the set, but NMMI prevailed and took the set 25-23

The Chaps were out ahead 8-4 at one point during the second set, but the Broncos made a comeback and tied the set at 11-11 including a 6-0 run at one point with Barbara Celar serving. The Broncos would get as much as a 17-13 lead before the Chaps tied it 17-17, but the Broncos ended the set on an 8-5 run for the 25-20 set victory.

Head Bronco volleyball Shelby Forchtner was proud of her teams effort at the end of each set. “We actually controlled the game really well until the middle of the first and second set. Then we just let one or two of their servers go on a three or more point run. We had a big lead every time – 16-12, 17-13 – but we’d let them catch back up. But we did a really good job in the last five or six points of every set – we just controlled the last few points and prevented Midland from getting in any kind of rhythm. We worked a lot with that in practice this week, our starters coming back from behind, and I think it helped our mental game with closing out those sets.”

The Broncos were in full control of set three as they had a 19-13 lead at one point, which was the largest lead of the night at that point. NMMI would end up winning the third set 25-16.

Gabriela Langi led the team in kills with 13. Agape Mafua had 10 kills during the match. Katelynn Gutz had six kills with no errors. Ha’ahulakaleikaimana Crisostomo led the team with 24 digs and Gutz led the team with seven block assists.

The next game for NMMI will be against the Clarendon College Bulldogs on October 10th at 7 PM in Cahoon Armory Gym.

Coach Forchtner is excited to stay on home court for the next match. “We’ll be home again on Wednesday and no tournaments this weekend. It will be nice to get some rest and relax as we head into the second round of conference play.”

Broncos win fourth straight conference match

NMMI Sports Press

The New Mexico Military Institute volleyball team continued their conference winning streak on Wednesday as they defeated Frank Phillips College in three sets 25-23, 25-23, and 25-15 for their fourth straight conference victory.
The Broncos were led by Agape Mafua on the attack. Mafua had 12 kills on 24 attacks with four attack errors. Peyton Schendt also had 12 kills on the night on 28 attacks and four attack errors.
On the defensive side of the ball Megan Martinez led the team with five block assists and one solo block on the night. Ha’ahulakaleikaimana Crisostomo led the Broncos with 13 digs in the match.
Head Bronco volleyball coach Shelby Forchtner said “I am happy to get another conference win. We struggled to be consistent in the first two sets, but we put it together in the third set.
The Broncos next game will be on Friday as they head to Tyler, TX to play in the Tyler Invitational. Their first game is at 11:00 CT against Missouri State University – West Plains. They will then play host Tyler Junior College at 1:00 PM on Friday.

Broncos move to 2-0 in WJCAC with home win over Odessa College

Peyton Schendt with an attack during the Broncos home match versus Odessa College on Wednesday.

NMMI Sports Press


The New Mexico Military Institute Bronco volleyball team picked up their second conference win of the season, downing WJCAC foe Odessa College in three straight sets at home: 25-20, 25-14, 25-22.


The Wednesday match in the Cahoon Armory gym was packed and rowdy with cadets who were constantly on their feet cheering and stomping their Lady Broncos to victory.


“I think Odessa will play 75% better on their home floor,” explained head Bronco coach Shelby Forchtner. “I think our environment kind of freaks people out – they think that they can control it and everything is going to be fine because they’re listening to the noise and commotion during warm-up, but once our cadets get going and an opposing team makes a few errors, that gets in their head. As much as people say that the atmosphere of our gym doesn’t phase them, I really think that we have a huge advantage at home. And we’ll also definitely have to step up our game when we play Odessa again in their gym.”


Ha’ahulakaleikaimana Crisostomo with a dig during set two of the match.

And so with the Corps of Cadets acting as a seventh-player, along with exceptional serving by the Broncos, NMMI cruised to relatively easy victories in the first two sets.


“I think our team just came out and served really, really well in Game 1 and Game 2 to keep Odessa out-of-system, so they couldn’t take these big, huge swings on every play,” continued Forchtner. “We didn’t have a ton of aces, but we got a lot of free balls and a lot of down balls in those first two sets because we were serving so tough. And you can’t really stat an out-of-system ball, but it just made it easier for our defense. Our defense just played lights-out and [on offense] Agape Mafua struggled a bit in the first set, but then took over in sets two and three.


But in the third set, Odessa went on an early run to take an 8-3 lead.


“They kind of reversed the roles in Game 3 and served us a whole lot tougher than we were serving them at the start,” stated Forchtner. “We were making errors on serve-receive that we hadn’t made in the first two sets. That gave Odessa some confidence and then we starting making some offensive errors, our passing wasn’t as good, our serving not as tough.”


But coach Forchtner was pleased with how her team battled back.


“Once we regained the lead, we never let it go,” she said “but it was hard getting that control back.”


The kill leader for the Broncos was freshman OH Peyton Schendt with 14 kills. She also tied for the digs lead with frosh libero Hula Crisostomo, each with 16. Sophomore middle Mafua was close behind Schendt in kills with 12, and led the team in hitting percentage at .450. NMMI’s three aces came from freshman setter Barbara Celler with two, and one by sophomore DS Karime Raygoya.


Agape Mafua gets a kill on an attack.

The rest of this week, including the weekend, the Broncos are off. The past three weekends have been spent at tournaments: their own NMMI Classic to start the season on Aug. 24-25, where NMMI went 4-0 in match play without dropping a set; a 2-2 performance at the Salt Lake INNvitational on Aug. 31-Sept.1; and another 4-0 match mark at the Odessa Wrangler Classic on Sept. 7-8, including a 3-0 win over 20th-ranked Blinn College.


“Taking a break will be wonderful,” said Forchtner.  “We’ve got some players who definitely need to get caught up. It’s going to be good to get some time off. We need to rest. We always seemed to hit a wall around this time in previous seasons, and tended to play really bad wherever we went, so we decided this season to go ahead and take a break. We’ve been going since the first of August, so it’ll be good for our team to rest and relax.”


Next match for NMMI will be a conference tilt in Snyder, TX vs. Western Texas College on Wed. Sept. 19, set for a 7:00 PM CDT start.

Bronco volleyball preps for demanding 2018 season schedule

The 2018 Bronco women’s volleyball team. Photo courtesy A.J. Roe

NMMI Sports Press

The Bronco volleyball team opened its season in amazing fashion last weekend: sweeping through the home-town Bronco Invitational not only with a 4-0 record, but without dropping a single set.

The Institute topped Garden City Community College 25-10, 29-27, 25-13; South Mountain Community College 25-23, 25-14, 25-15; Hutchinson Community College 25-21, 25-16, 25-16; and North Central Texas College 25-14, 25-15, 25-19.

It was a promising start for a team that closed the 2017 season with a third-place finish at the NJCAA’s National Championships, and came into 2018 with a pre-season No. 5 ranking. But head coach Shelby Forchtner said those rankings mean nothing.

“Preseason polls are basically what you did at nationals, then they try to move a few people around, just thinking, ‘We don’t know what everybody has now or what they lost exactly.’ Then they just throw out a preseason poll to be nice,” she said. “It’s awesome to be ranked like this, but you’ve just got a big target on your back, and who wants that?”

But Forchtner is confident her team can be as good if not better than last year’s squad, despite losing two players who earned All-American honors, and a third player who was equally as good, with all three topping the 6-foot level.

“The dynamic in our gym this year is different than last year, because we’re just a little bit faster,” Forchtner said. “We’re a little more athletic. Our defense is amazing. And we serve really, really, really, really well. We try to control things from the serving line to keep other teams out of system, so then in turn we’re getting easier tempo balls and they’re not able to shove it right down our throat because we don’t have the bigs. And it’s working right now.”

As a team, the Broncos picked up 31 aces, led by Yumeno Nawa with 12 and Barbara Celar with seven.

“We served really well against every single team,” the coach said. “That’s doesn’t always show in the aces stat column. When you can push somebody deep into the 15-foot line and their setter is having to adjust to every single ball and just run around like crazy, you get an easier tempo ball over the net.”

And while the team also has 27 serving errors, Forchtner isn’t too concerned.

“I think our defense is really going to carry us this year, and if we can continue to have this offensive momentum with our hitting percentages, … we’ll take two or three or even four missed serves if we’re going to keep somebody out of system for the 20 other points.”

In addition to stellar serving, this year’s Bronco squad also boasts a top-notch defense.

NMMI has an awesome back-row trio — 5-foot-4 freshman Nawa, from Japan; 5-1 frosh Ha’ahulakaleikaimana Crisostomo from Hawaii; and 5-6 sophomore Karime Raygoza from Las Vegas, Nev. — each of which could play libero for just about any team.

“I think we have three Division I liberos sitting in our gym right now,” Forchtner said. “These three kids are very similar. They all have different strengths, but it’s just such a slight difference from the other person that it’s not even something that you can use against them.”

All three saw plenty of time on the floor in the four games in Cahoon Armory and Forchtner expects them to battle each other to actually play in the libero spot.

“Those three kids are so good and so solid, that if one kid just comes in and blows somebody else out of the water because somebody’s sleeping because they wore the jersey the week before, they could take that spot away from them very easily. I don’t think a lot of other programs have that in their gym. Usually you’ve got one libero who usually stands out above everybody else, then you’ve got some defensive kids who fill in for some swings and that’s just not the case right now.”

The Broncos have a similar situation on offense. Veteran soph Kim Trauboth, a 5-foot-8 outside hitter from Germany, played in 42 of NMMI’s 43 matches last season, but was injured in the Broncos’ first match against Garden City. So at least early in the season, NMMI will be looking at three newcomers.

“Right now, we’ve got three freshman outsides who are the same as our liberos,” Forchtner said. “They are so unbelievably similar that it was really hard for us to decide who was going to play. Then Kim got hurt, so one of the other ones had to step in. I think it’s going to be a competition for the starting spots all year between those three. We’re going to have to watch every practice. We’re going to have to watch every warmup. And it’s really going to be based on who is playing well in that moment.”

That trio includes Peyton Schendt, a 6-footer from Nebraska; 5-8 Violeta Mendoza Quintana from Mexico; and 5-10 Gabriela Langi from Utah.

Celar, a 5-8 freshman from Bosnia, will set, and despite filling the spot previously held by All-American Karen “Paola” Rivera-Herrera, Forchtner is equally confident about her abilities.

“The more comfortable she gets, the better and better she’s going to get,” the coach said. “Because she is a very, very, very good setter. In fact, she’s probably one of the better ones we’ve had here in a really long time, and she’s going to be the kid who just gets better as the year goes on.”

Then there are two sophomores on offense, 6-0 Megan Martinez from El Paso, Texas and 5-8 Agape Mafua from American Samoa, who’s easily the hardest hitter on the team.

“We’ve been working with [Agape] for a while now on control,” Forchtner said. “‘Yes, if you see a seam you can hit it 100 miles an hour, but if you don’t, we need you to do something a little bit  different.’ And she kind of struggled with that just a little bit this weekend, but she’s still hitting for a super-high hitting percentage in all four games.”

That percentage was .509 for four games, and with 33 points scored, Mafua was second only to Schendt (40) in that category.

But while those are the names that saw the most playing time opening weekend, everyone on the team played in at least one match, and Forchtner is confident she’s got a well-rounded squad.

“We’ve got some freshmen in there plugging away just kind of doing a good job too. But we’ve also got some really good sophomores on the bench too, who if they keep working, they’re going to get in and get some playing time as well.

“Honestly, every single kid who’s standing on our bench can play. Some of these freshmen just need to get caught up to the speed of the game and just need a few technical things, but I think by October some of those kids are going to come alive.”

While the Bronco Classic opponents were far from pushovers — the coach was especially concerned with the physicality of Hutchinson and NCTC — the Institute will really get a chance to see what they can do this weekend at the Salt Lake Community College Crystal INNvitational, where they’ll face two “Big Dogs”, including No. 2-ranked College of Southern Idaho.

“We know Salt Lake and CSI are both going to be really good, competitive teams,” Forchtner said. “They are every single year. We know that those two matches are going to be top 20 teams that we’re going to have to go in and face and will probably be some of the best teams we’ll face all year. But that’s what we want. We want a competitive environment for these kids from start to finish and we think that that’s what’s really helps us be successful.”

After their trip to Utah, the Broncos will travel to Clarendon, Texas on Sept. 5 to take on the Bulldogs in both teams’ first match in Western Junior College Athletic Conference play. Then it’s a grueling schedule of weekends on the road at top-tier tournaments, with conference matches slated on Wednesday nights.

NMMI’s next match at home will be on one of those Wednesdays, vs. Odessa College at 7:00 P.M. MDT on Sept. 12, and as always, the entire community of the Pecos Valley is welcome and encouraged to come out and watch some of the best junior college athletes in the nation compete in some amazing volleyball action.