Category Archives: Lady Colt Volleyball

Lady Colts fall to Gateway in season opener

In the first set, NMMI’s Mia Walker looks to get her attack past the block set by Gateway’s Savannah Fox. Photo courtesy – Laura Brown.


Tanner Hightower-Wilson, NMMI Sports Press

Back row overhand by Alyssa Bolander. Photo courtesy – Laura Brown.

The Lady Colt volleyball team opened up their season against Gateway Christian on Monday evening at the Warrior Gymnasium.

NMMI took an early lead in game one and never lost it, winning the first set 25-21.

Thanks to a late serving run by Alyssa Bolander, NMMI coasted to the finish, taking the momentum into the second set.

Head Coach Stephanie Schooley said, “Alyssa has been playing with us for several years now and she is one of my most consistent players on the court. She stepped up tonight and that’s what we needed.”

Kill attempt by NMMI’s Mia Walker. Photo courtesy – Laura Brown.

However, the momentum would not last as the Warriors took game two, 25-15, also never surrendering the lead throughout the entire set.

In set three, NMMI broke out to an early 10-4 lead, but the Lady Warriors countered with a massive run of their own. With the Lady Colts down by ten, Bolander had another service run, allowing the Lady Colts to pull within five points of the Warriors, 22-17. However after several Institute errors, Gateway won game three, 25-21.

Game four was filled with several runs by both teams.

Dee Ulibarri with the dig after a Gateway kill attempt. Photo courtesy – Laura Brown.

The match continued back and forth finally reaching a tie score of 19-19. Both teams were zoned in as they rallied for the momentum and the 20th point. Gateway took that point – and eventually game four and the match – 25-22.

“We had a lot of dropped balls,” said coach Schooley. “Just miscommunication. I told the girls that they have to trust each other and we really have to focus on playing with a purpose. Every pass, set and hit needs to have a purpose intended, not just to get a hand on the ball, but to actually get it to somebody so we can make a play out of it.”

Rilan Maloney goes up for the attack. Photo courtesy – Laura Brown.

The Lady Colts will have their second consecutive game on the road Tuesday against Hondo at 5:30 PM.

NMMI will host their first home game of the 2017 season against the Hondo Eagles on Tuesday, August 29th.

In the JV match, the Lady Colts lost 2-0 to the Lady Warriors.

 

Kill shot by Grace Tompkins. Photo courtesy – Laura Brown.

Abigail Valadez with the bump pass. Photo courtesy – Laura Brown.

Experienced Colt volleyball team ready to start season

The 2017 NMMI sports season kicks off Monday, with the Lady Colt volleyball team traveling just down the road to Gateway Christian. And while it may seem early, it’s not unusual for the high school netters.

“We’re usually the first ones out of the starting blocks to start our season,” said coach Stephanie Schooley. “But we’re excited to see where we are.”

The Institute will open with both varsity and JV games vs. the Warriors, bringing a team that includes five returners.

Seniors Grace Tompkins, Alyssa Bolander and Abby Valadez lead the way, with junior Demitra “D” Ulibarri and sophomore Mia Walker all expected to start.

Ulibarri will be setting; Walker in the middle; Tompkins hitting on the right and outside; Bolander on the right and back row as a defensive specialist; and Valadez in the back row and outside. But all five are skilled enough that could change.

“A lot of those girls will be able to play all the way around, if needed,” Schooley said.

The sixth starter is up in the air, but the first name mentioned is freshman Rylan Maloney, the sister of current and former Colts Gavin and Hayden Maloney.

“We’re going to try and see how she does in the setting position as well, opposite of Dee,” Schooley said. “Then we’ve got some new girls to the team, and we’re still trying to figure out what position we want to play them in.”

Those include senior Skyler Nunn, a new NMMI cadet; junior Keena Roberts, another new Colt; and junior Casey Day, who played JV last year.

With 21 athletes between the varsity and JV, a few of the younger players will get a chance to see action on the varsity if needed. But so far, Schooley is pleased with what she’s seeing despite less than two weeks of practice.

“The five returners to the varsity are really doing a good job of communicating with each other, and teaching the new girls that team bonding which is so important,” she said. “I know the skills of volleyball are just as important, but being able to communicate with each other on the floor is a battle in itself. I feel like the girls are starting to become a little bit more of a team. They didn’t even know each other’s names a week ago. So that’s a positive. I feel like we’re doing good with the communication.”

As far as the skills, “It seems like our plays are coming together,” Schooley said. “It’s just going to take some time for the girls who are playing in a different position from what they’re used to. We have some girls who’ve never played a specific position before, so they’re not used to switching – we’re still working on some of the basics and putting it all together with a pass, set and hit.”

With games Monday and Tuesday – Tuesday on the road, as well, at Hondo – Schooley will be able to see just what it is her squad still needs to work on.

“I really just want to see how all the girls can come together and just see where we are,” she said. “In practice, we can do things that look really good, and we have some things that look like, ‘Oh my goodness! Have we ever worked on that before?’ So it will be good just to be able to play another team and see how we deal with the added pressure. Gateway is always tough. They always play us tough, and it’s always a good first gauge of were we stand as far as our season.”

After the Warriors and Eagles, the Colts have a strong schedule that includes games vs. Loving and Lake Arthur; the Lady Warrior Invitational at Gateway; and home and away matches vs. two new squads: Vaughn and Mescalero.

“There’s a couple new teams in the mix that we’ll be facing, so we’re excited to have some changes in our schedule and see how we do against some fresh teams,” Schooley said.

With no district competition, the Lady Colts close the season on Oct. 5 the same way they start it: against Gateway. But while that game could be key to a winning season — last year’s Lady Colts were 8-7, with five- and four-game victories against GCS and Clovis Christian sealing the successful run — it’s also expected to be fun.

That final match for the Lady Colts will be a “Dig Pink” night, part of a series of several athletic events held in the month of October by Colt and Bronco teams to promote cancer awareness and raise funds as part of the “Cadets for the Cure” campaign.

“Hopefully, it’ll be a fun night for everybody but also can raise some awareness and some funds for a good cause.”

Colt volleyball closes season with win and winning record

NMMI's Alyssa Bolander with a nice pick up on a hard serve from Clovis Christian. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

NMMI’s Alyssa Bolander with a nice pick up on a hard serve from Clovis Christian. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.


Karen Boehler

NMMI Sports Press

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NMMI senior Kelsey Duru jumps up for the outside kill attempt. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

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.

Grace Tompkins with the bump in the back row for the Lady Colts. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

Grace Tompkins with the bump in the back row for the Lady Colts. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

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.

Abigail Valadez serves up an ace for the Institute. NMMI had a great night at the service line with 18 aces. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

Abigail Valadez serves up an ace for the Institute. NMMI had a great night at the service line with 18 aces. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

“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.”

The members of the varsity squad pose for a quick pic after their win over Clovis Chrisitan, completing a winning season record with a 7-6 overall mark. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

The members of the varsity squad pose for a quick pic after their win over Clovis Chrisitan, completing a winning season record with a 8-7 overall mark. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

Colt volleyball battles GCS to five-game victory

Gateway Christian’s Lauren Wulf and NMMI’s Mia Walker battle for a ball hanging on the top of the net. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

Gateway Christian’s Lauren Wulf and NMMI’s Mia Walker battle for a ball hanging on the top of the net. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.


Karen Boehler

NMMI Sports Press

Back row dig on the serve-receive by NMMI's Grace Tompkins. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

Back row dig on the serve-receive by NMMI’s Grace Tompkins. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

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.”

Set by NMMI's Abigail Valadez. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

Set by NMMI’s Abigail Valadez. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

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.

Outside kill attempt by NMMI's Kelsey Duru, solo block set Gateway's Isabel Worrall. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

Outside kill attempt by NMMI’s Kelsey Duru, solo block set by Gateway’s Isabel Worrall. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

“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.”

Lady Colt Demitra Ulibarri reaches up to return a high set back over the net. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

Lady Colt Demitra Ulibarri reaches up to return a high set back over the net. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

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.

The NMMI JV team celebrates after winning the first set in their match vs. Gateway. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

The NMMI JV team celebrates after winning the first set in their match vs. Gateway. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

“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.

Colt VB can’t get second win over Corona

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NMMI’s Grace Tompkins ready at the net looking for the block on a ball being sent over by Corona’s Payton Dunsworth. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.


Karen Boehler

NMMI Sports Press

Nice save near the sideline by Mia Walker to get the ball back into play after an errant Lady Colt pass.

Nice save near the sideline by Mia Walker to get the ball back into play after an errant Lady Colt pass. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

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.

Kelsey Duru had a great night serving for the Lady Colts with six aces.

Kelsey Duru had a great night serving for the Lady Colts with six aces. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

“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.”

Alyssa Bolander with the outside attack.

Alyssa Bolander with the outside attack. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

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.

Dee Ulibarri and Abigail Valadez both look to make a play on a ball hit into the back row.

Dee Ulibarri and Abigail Valadez both look to make a play on a ball hit into the back row. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

“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.”