Published: 1:39 pm, Fri. Oct. 2nd, 2015Updated: 11:36 pm
After posting a quick win over the Wildcats of Clovis in Game One Thursday at Bulldog Pit, the Artesia volleyball team overcame a marathon loss in the second set to secure a 3-1 victory in their first home appearance since Sept. 10.
The ‘Dogs pulled away from the ‘Cats midway through the opening bout en route to a 25-16 win, but the second game saw the girls in orange experiencing some of the lapses that have led to a few unnecessarily close matches of late.
Artesia committed six unforced defensive errors and a trio from service in the extra-point affair, coming up short of game point thrice in the latter stages.
After the ‘Dogs built a four-point lead over the Wildcats, 18-14, late, Clovis rallied to go up 20-19, and the battle was on from there.
Trailing 23-21, a tip by Gracie Puentes gave Artesia 22 and the ball with Kayla Ledezma in service. The senior delivered a pair of points with help from kills by Jenna Butcher and Mattie McCombs, but a defensive miscue kept the ‘Cats alive.
Another Butcher kill brought about game point again, but the ‘Dogs could not put Clovis away. Such was the case once more following a point gleaned from a Wildcat rotation error.
Tied 29-29, a slow response on defense gave the Wildcats the opening they’d been looking for, and a service ace that trickled off the top of the net tied the match at one-all, 31-29.
The Bulldogs did not let the lengthy loss throw them off course, however.
Trailing 4-3 early in Game Three, a four-point service by Justena Galindo that included a pair of Stacia Martinez kills turned the tables, and three-point services by Butcher and Erica Reyes, and two from Alexa Riggs – each athlete delivering an ace – quickly made it 19-7.
A string of side-outs took Artesia over the 20-point mark, and points by Galindo and Butcher ended the game, 25-13.
Clovis was able to keep things close through the midway point of Game Four, but three more from the line by Reyes and a pair from McCombs gave the Bulldogs an eight-point cushion, 18-10. Kills by Butcher, Reyes and Martinez kept the ‘Cats from regaining a rhythm, and Reyes would end the match with an ace to cap the 25-15 victory.
Ledezma finished with 13 service points and 32 digs on the match, followed by Riggs with 12 points – including a trio of aces – Butcher with nine, and Reyes with eight and two aces. Butcher led the offense with 11 kills and a pair of solo blocks, McCombs had seven kills, Puentes and Martinez six apiece with two and one solo block respectively, and Galindo logged four kills in the form of quick sets over the net.
With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 10-3 on the season as they prepare to host their final regular-season match Tuesday against Portales at Bulldog Pit. Artesia opens District 4-AAAAA play Oct. 13 versus Goddard at home.