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Kacey Thurman returns a hit during Game Three Thursday at Bulldog Pit. (Brienne Green - Daily Press)

Kacey Thurman returns a hit during Game Three Thursday
at Bulldog Pit. (Brienne Green – Daily Press)

The Bulldog volleyball team was hoping to stay unbeaten in District 4-AAAAA play Thursday against Roswell High on their home court. But the hot-handed Coyotes had other ideas.

The girls in red eked out a 25-22 win over Artesia in a heated Game One at Bulldog Pit, then took advantage of their solid hitting and a few defensive errors on the part of the ‘Dogs to finish off the match in three, 25-10 and 25-15.

“It wasn’t the way we wanted things to turn out, but Roswell played a really good game,” Artesia head coach Alan Williams said today. “We battled in the first game, but I think the accumulation of things not going our way just took the steam out of us.”

Roswell kept the pressure on following the deflating opening loss to cruise to a 25-10 decision in Game Two and were able to build another insurmountable early lead in the final contest.

Down 13-3, the ‘Dogs didn’t go out without a fight. A long string of side-outs and single-point services saw Artesia claw back within seven late, 22-15, but a defensive error would take the Coyotes to match point.

A Mattie McCombs kill returned the ball to Artesia, but a hit into the scoreboard above the court would end it, 25-15.

McCombs finished with six kills on the night to lead the Bulldogs, followed by Stacia Martinez with five, and Jenna Butcher and Gracie Puentes with four apiece. Libero Kayla Ledezma posted 13 digs, while Justena Galindo and Alexa Riggs both had nine.

“We didn’t come out intimidated,” said Williams. “We did some good things, but playing a team that did as well as they did offensively, we have to work on our defense. If the girls can come in the next couple of days and really focus on getting better, I think it’ll show next time.”

The Bulldogs (11-5, 1-1) will now prepare for a three-match road trip beginning Tuesday in Lovington, followed by trips to Roswell Oct. 22 and 27 to face the Rockets and Coyotes respectively.

“We’re going to try to fix some of those problems we had with our defense and also make some adjustments offensively to give us a better chance,” said Williams.

Taking a bit of the sting out of the defeat was the emotion of a special night for the Bulldogs, who held a fundraiser at the match for the Marquise’ Weast and Marcos Morillon Memorial Scholarship Funds. The match began with a recording of Weast singing the national anthem.

Williams reported approximately $7,800 were raised.

“The volleyball team wants to thank everybody in the community who helped support the scholarships,” he said.