Category Archives: Lady Colt Volleyball
NMMI Sports Press
The Colt volleyball team wrapped up the 2016 season with what was probably their best game all year, a 25-13, 25-11, 25-13 victory over Clovis Christian.
“I feel like we started a little slow the first five, six, seven points, but to just keep our intensity up for the whole entire match, that’s the first time we’ve done that all season,” said coach Stephanie Schooley. “We were more aggressive. Just played better as a team.”
After jumping out to a 3-0 lead to open Game 1, NMMI let the Eagles back in, with ties at 4-4, 6-6 and 8-8. But Clovis Christian never led, and after the 8-all tie, Alyssa Bolander served four straight — including two aces. Then, after a bit more back-and-forth, Grace Tompkins closed out the match with 10 straight serves.
The Eagles went up 2-0 to open Game 2, but Bolander again stepped to the line after a CCHS side out and made it 4-2.
Mia Walker stretched the NMMI lead to 14-6 with four points, three of them aces, then there was another long serving run to close out the game. Abigail Valadez garnered the final eight points, getting help on a block from Walker before serving aces for the final two points.
The Eagles didn’t go quietly and nothing looked easy. Both sides had long rallies, and Clovis Christian both served and hit the ball hard. But the Colts picked up just about everything that was hit at them, and hit hard right back.
Game 3 saw Demitra Ulibarri get the first two points on aces, then, despite service errors by both sides, NMMI slowly pulled ahead, going up 10-5 and 14-8. After CCHS had their longest offensive run of the match — three points — Tompkins served another six straight and Valadez closed the game, match and season out with three serves, ending with an ace.
Schooley was able to give everyone a chance to see action.
“I really wanted to make sure, since this was our last game of the season, to give everybody some floor time,” she said. “It was hard to decide who to take in and out of the game, because everybody, even the subs who went in, everybody did a great job. I’m excited that all our players got to play, and especially for our seniors, that everybody got to see the floor.”
NMMI will graduate three from the team: Macie Danna, Adrianna Zepeda and Kelsey Duru. And while Duru was a two year starter who made her mark on the squad, the coach said everyone will be tough to replace.
“We will definitely miss Kelsey,” Schooley said. “Macie and Adrianna came in this year and stepped it up, and really helped us out this year. So we’ll definitely miss all our seniors.”
And the victory gave the Lady Colts something else to be proud of: an 8-7 winning record.
“We were excited to get a winning record for the end of the season,” Schooley said. “I’m super proud of the girls. They really played their hearts out tonight.”
NMMI Sports Press
In order to even have a chance to finish the season with a winning record, the Colt volleyball team had to top Gateway Christian at the Red Rock Center Monday.
And with a verbal push from coach Stephanie Schooley and loud cheering from members of Abigail Valadez’ family, they did just that, winning 25-23, 23-25, 25-14, 17-25, 15-2.
“I told the girls in Game 4, maybe one game too soon, that we’ve got to get this win so we can end up above .500,” Schooley said. “They didn’t fight very hard in Game 4, but came back in Game 5 and really took control of the game and capitalized on some good plays.”
Game 1 started out in the Warriors favor as they took a 7-1 lead. But NMMI battled back, tying it at 11-all on four serves from Mia Walker, some nice saves by Kelsey Duru, and some mistakes by Gateway. GCS went back up briefly, but after another tie, this one at 13-13, the Colts took a lead and never trailed again.
But Gateway didn’t go quietly, closing the gap to 24-23 on a long volley they finally won and an ace by Sarah Martin. But a Warrior hitting error made it NMMI’s game.
Game 2 was almost the exact opposite, as the Colts went up first then GCS fought back. There were eight ties in the game, and each side held the lead. The Colts were two points from victory, at 23-20, on an ace by Walker and good hit by Alyssa Bolander. But after NMMI lost the serve on a ball off the ceiling, Warrior Savannah Fox notched three straight serves, then a pair of side outs on hitting errors gave Gateway the win.
“We worked so hard to get back in that game and then to let it go right there at the end, that was hard,” Schooley said. “Because it could have been over after Game 3. Game 2 was a tough one.”
NMMI took Game 3 easily, getting the first five points and never trailing. Game 4 saw GCS go up big early and never trail, then Game 5 belonged completely to the C0lts, as they quickly went up 10-1 and never looked back.
“I’m just glad that Game 5, only playing to 15, we didn’t have time to be bad for a couple of points,” Schooley said. “So I’m glad the girls were finally able to pull together and finish a match, instead of just letting up and letting go.”
The varsity will wrap up their season Oct. 4 at home vs. Clovis Christian, and a victory would mean a winning season record for the Lady Colts.
The junior varsity closed out their short season with an easy 25-14, 25-13 victory over the young Warriors, a team they had to battle to beat in three in the season opener.
The win gave the JV a winning record with a 3-1 mark on the season, which had coach Katie Dollahon excited.
“We have improved over the season, and that really showed tonight,” she said. At the beginning, we were always passing back and forth, but we actually got some good pass, sets and hits this game. So I’m really proud of coming from where we started to where we are now, and to win in two games it just shows how much we’ve improved this season.”
And with a number of young players on the JV squad, Dollahon is anticipating next year.
“We’re looking forward to them coming back next year to help with our varsity team,” she said.
NMMI Sports Press
It’s a theme that runs through all NMMI volleyball this season: inconsistency. And Thursday, that inconsistency led to a Colt loss vs. Corona, as the Cardinals took a 25-18, 25-14, 25-20 victory in the Godfrey Athletic Center gymnasium.
That gave Corona a 2-1 record over NMMI this season, after they beat the Colts at home early in the season then fell when both teams were shorthanded at the Gateway tournament. Having senior Cardinals Aubrey Brandenberger and Payton Dunsworth back on the floor might have made a difference, but Colt coach Stephanie Schooley thought there might another reason as well.
“I just think we weren’t completely confident in our abilities,” she said. “We do really good things and we seem to be excited, then we let one mistake turn into three, four, five, and you’re not going to win a game if you keep letting mistake after mistake happen.”
The teams played close early in Game 1, with NMMI either leading or tied through 7-4, but after a Corona time out, the Cardinals went on a 14-3 run, and while three aces late in the match by Kelesey Duru closed the gap a bit, it wasn’t nearly enough.
After the Colts got the first point in Game 2, Corona went on a 9-1 run and never looked back, with only three NMMI offensive points in the game.
“We were beating ourselves more so than they were actually making the kills,” Schooley said. “I just feel like we’re so mental we can’t get over those mistakes. And we have to learn to move on.”
It looked like the Colts were doing just that in Game 3, as NMMI went up 5-0 on four serves by Grace Tompkins, including an ace, then stretched the lead to 7-1. But the Cardinals battled back, tying it at 8-8 then going up 14-9 on strong serving by Koelle Brandenberger.
NMMI didn’t allow any more big Corona runs, and closed to 21-19 on four serves by Alyssa Bolander, but some final mistakes gave the visitors the game and match.
The Colts have only two games remaining in their season. They’ll travel to Gateway on Monday to try to get a win vs. the Warriors, then close things out at home on Oct. 4 against Clovis Christian.
“Both very winnable games,” Schooley said. “Tough game with Gateway. They always play us tough. We also come out and try to play them tough, so I hope we can just be more consistent. We have moments of brilliance, then I don’t know what happens. So we’ve got to learn to be more consistent.”
NMMI Sports Press
The Lady Colt volleyball team got what looks, on paper, like an easy win over Lake Arthur Monday, but the inexperienced Panthers gave a much better effort against NMMI.
The Colts won 25-10, 25-13, 25-7, and their serving was solid. LA had a hard time picking up strong shots, giving NMMI 29 aces through the three games. But the Colts often seemed surprised when the ball did come back.
“We weren’t expecting the ball to come back over when it did, so we were just standing watching the game instead of actually playing the game,” said coach Stephanie Schooley.
Game 1 was tied three times early, with the Panthers leading 1-0 and 2-1 before Kelsey Duru nailed four aces in a row to put NMMI on top for good. Abigail Valadez, Alyssa Bolander and Demitra Ulibarri also tallied aces, with Bolander getting game point on an ace.
Ulibarri sereved six straight aces to open Game 2, then three more after an LAHS time out before ending the run on a service error. Panther Jazmin Pando then got the first offensive points for the visitors, and while those were hard to come by for Lake Arthur, Esmeralda Villa also picked up to offensive points from the line on Colt errors before NMMI closed the match on a tip by Ulibarri.
Grace Tompkins added to the list of those with aces in Game 2.
And while the score in Game 3 was the most lopsided — probably because the Colts seemed to be picking up the pace — the Panthers forced some long rallies, and Pando opened the game with an ace of her own.
In the finale, Tompkins had a four-point run, Valadez a five-point run, and Duru a seven-point run. And Game 3 ended like Game 2 did: on a tip from Ulibarri after a long rally.
Schooley said her team might have come out not quite ready to play.
“They’re just coming off Parent’s Weekend. They had a lot of other distracting things on their mind,” she said. “They just weren’t quite focused on playing their game of volleyball. It’s sometimes hard to get up and play our level when we’re playing a team that’s not quite as experienced yet. But you can’t fault Lake Arthur. They hustle. I think they’ve improved so much. I’ve got to give them credit. They’re going to be a great little team.”
The 6-6 Colts will be back in action at home Thursday vs. Corona — a game that will be webcast — and School said they need to be more prepared for the Cardinals.
“We’re back to breaking even, and any win is a good win,” she said. “We’ve got a tough game Thursday. We’ve got to come back ready to go. Got a lot that I see we need to work on. Get refocused so we can be ready for Corona.”
NMMI Sports Press
The Colt junior varsity volleyball team doesn’t get many chances to play, but in one of their rare matches Thursday, they played a solid game, defeating Loving 18-25, 25-21, 15-12.
“I am super proud of them,” said JV coach Katie Dollahon. “We’ve been working really hard ever since our last Loving game, and scrimmaging against varsity a lot in our practices, and I think that helped a lot.”
After losing the opener, the young squad came back to take Game 2 despite a determined Falcon squad, then, in Game 3, after falling behind, NMMI battled back, tying the game at 12-12 then taking the final three points for the victory.
“The rallies were really close, on both sides of the court, so it was a really close match all the way up to the end,” Dollahon said. “And the third game we really pushed hard and pulled ahead. They were really confident tonight so I’m really proud of them.”
The coaches were hoping that confidence and enthusiasm would carry over the the varsity, but it didn’t, at least not early.
Loving opening the match with an eight point run and never looked back, winning 25-4. 25-10, 25-17.
The Colts looked like they were playing hard — they could have rolled over after the first game and didn’t — and head coach Stephanie Schooley agreed.
“We had moments,” she said. “Loving is a good team and they have some great hitters. They have a lot of intensity and they go for every ball. I feel like Game 1, it’s like we had never played before with each other.”
Schooley made some lineup changes in Game 2, but while the score improved, the players couldn’t handle the differences.
“They couldn’t pull together as a team to handle the change,” Schooley said. “Game 3, different story. I feel like we finally started to warm up and play.”
The Colts got their first lead in Game 3, going up 1-0 on a solid kill by Kelsey Duru then making it 3-0 on good serving by Grace Tompkins.
The Falcons slowly regained the lead, but NMMI had more good kills by Duru and Mia Walker, a nice tip over the net by Tompkins for a point and aces by Alyssa Bolander and Demitra Ulibarri.
Schooley sounded more disappointed than upset with how her team played.
“This is our first home game in 2-1/2, three weeks, and we should have played better,” she said. “We obviously have something to work on. I just feel like on our home court, we have got to play better.”
And the Colts will have three more chances to do so. They’ll face Lake Arthur at home Monday; Corona Sept. 22 then Gateway just down the road Sept. 26 before closing out their abbreviated season Oct. 4 at home vs. Clovis Christian.