Published: 2:13 pm, Wed. Oct. 14th, 2015
After bounding out to two consecutive wins over Goddard in their District 4-AAAAA opener Tuesday at Bulldog Pit, the Artesia volleyball team stumbled in Game Three, and the Rockets took full advantage.
Goddard rode the momentum shift to a sizable early lead in the fourth set and maintained it through the midway point as the Bulldogs battled to regain their composure.
But with the score 13-9 in favor of the girls in blue, the ‘Dogs finally regained their spark. Kayla Ledezma served up seven straight points, punctuated by a trio of aces, a pair of Jenna Butcher kills, and one from Mattie McCombs as Artesia surged to its first lead of the game, 17-13.
And as Butcher continued to be an offensive factor, forcing a pair of Rocket side-outs, a trio of service points by McCombs and one from Justena Galindo helped Artesia secure the come-from-behind win, 25-17, and the match, 3-1.
“It was a little closer than I would’ve liked it to be, but Goddard is a good team, so we expected a fight,” Bulldog head coach Alan Williams said today.
The ‘Dogs overcame a bit of a slow start in the opener Tuesday, coming from behind to take a 13-7 lead on four points from service by Alexa Riggs and two from Galindo.
From there, Artesia seemed to settle in, limiting Goddard’s offensive output with help from kills by Butcher, McCombs and Erica Reyes en route to a 25-17 final.
The ‘Dogs stayed in the driver’s seat for the majority of Game Two, compiling a 19-11 lead on seven service points and a pair of aces by Ledezma and continued well-placed kills. A few defensive errors allowed the Rockets to pull within striking distance late, but a hit into the net by Goddard ended the bout, 25-21.
Buoyed by their late success, however, the Rockets came out swinging in Game Three, taking advantage of defensive missteps to catch the ‘Dogs on their heels on several occasions. A five-point run late by Allie French quickly turned a one-point deficit into a seven-point gap for the Bulldogs, and they were unable to recover from there, falling 18-25.
Macy Smith kept the rally going for Goddard in the early goings of Game Four, rattling off five. But McCombs answered with four from the line on one ace, two Stacia Martinez kills, and one solo block by Butcher, to pull Artesia back into contention.
Ledezma had a banner day from service, delivering 19 total points and six aces, followed by McCombs and Riggs with 12 and 10 respectively and an ace apiece. Ledezma also logged 16 digs on the match, while Butcher accounted for 11 kills and McCombs and Reyes seven each.
“I really liked our energy last night,” said Williams. “I thought we did well with that, and we did a lot of good things. We have to work on our defense a little bit, and we’ll do that today, but we served well, and it’s just a matter of making a few adjustments to be able to play our best.
“But it was a good night for the Bulldogs.”
The ‘Dogs (11-4, 1-0) will host Roswell High at 7 p.m. Thursday on “Blue Out” night. Fans are encouraged to wear blue and aid the team in raising funds for the Marquise’ Weast and Marcos Morillon Memorial Scholarship Funds.