Published: 10:21 am, Wed. Oct. 26th, 2016Updated: 10:19 am
After completing a District 4-AAAAA regular-season sweep of Roswell High Oct. 20 at Bulldog Pit, the Artesia High School netters knew they needed a victory over Lovington Tuesday on the road to set up a title showdown Thursday against Goddard.
The Bulldogs had topped the Wildcats 3-0 Oct. 13 at home but were aware the girls in blue would have more confidence behind them in ‘Cat Country. Although thrown a bit off their game by a lineup change, however, the ‘Dogs got the job done, blanking Lovington in three straight, 25-15, 25-16 and 25-22.
“We did a good job,” head coach Alan Williams said Tuesday. “We got the win we needed. Travelling here is not the easiest thing, and we had to make some adjustments due to an injury we had in practice yesterday. So we weren’t necessarily hitting on all cylinders, but we took care of businesses and I’m proud of the girls for that.”
Artesia was able to handle Lovington fairly well in the opening two sets, but the Wildcats attempted to rally in the third. The ‘Dogs kept their composure, however, and closed out the sweep.
Sophomore Payton Chandler came in off the bench to lead the team in kills on the night with 10, followed by Stacia Martinez with seven. Alexa Riggs delivered 16 digs, Kyrah Gonzales 15 assists and two aces, and Kamryn Esquibel 12 assists.
With the victory, the Bulldogs improve to 15-4 on the year, 4-1 in district play. They’ll close out Round Two of district play Thursday at Bulldog Pit against a Goddard team that came from behind to best them in five Oct. 18 in Roswell. The Rockets fell in four Tuesday to Roswell High, meaning if the ‘Dogs can log the W, they’ll lock up the regular-season district championship and the top seed going into the D4 Tournament.
“That’s what we’re looking to do,” Williams said. “We’re just going to have to play hard, stay positive, and focus on doing what we need to do to beat Goddard. They’re a tough team. They’re really tall, and their height gave us some trouble last time, but I think if we come out and play our best game, we’ll do just fine.
“It doesn’t hurt to be at the Pit, either. We’re expecting a big crowd, so the girls are excited and looking forward to it.”
Thursday’s match will begin between 6:30 and 7 p.m. following a 5:30 p.m. JV bout.