Published: 1:21 pm, Fri. Sep. 14th, 2018Updated: 1:19 pm
For the second time in five days, the Bulldog volleyball team came out of a match against former district rival Roswell with a three-game sweep in hand.
Taking on the Class 5A Coyotes (2-4) Tuesday at Bulldog Pit, the girls in orange made short work of Roswell in the opening bouts before staving off a Coyote charge in the third set, 25-15, 25-14, 28-26 win.
“That first game, we were able to build a lead toward the end, and that was good to see, and then in the second game, we by far played our best,” head coach Alan Williams said following the match. “We didn’t really trade many points with them, and that was just a great game for us.
“In the third game, we got some girls in for some playing time, and I didn’t think we played bad, (Roswell) just played well and we came through when we needed to. They pushed us, and we had to play well, to come out with a win.”
Artesia had jumped out to a 12-5 lead in the final set, but midway through, Roswell libero Jalen Baca was able to serve the Coyotes back within three. A Bulldog side-out later, Elisa Perez cut Roswell’s deficit to one, 13-12.
Malori McSpadden was able to give the ‘Dogs back some breathing room, 17-13, in a service that saw a solid kill from Dezaray Boyce, and Boyce would step up again to stop the bleeding for Artesia when a four-point service by the Coyotes saw the bout tied at 19.
A string of misplaced hits saw Roswell jump in front by two late, however, 24-22.
McSpadden spiked one home to prevent game point, then posted a key solo block to reinstate the dead lock at 24. Boyce logged another kill to force a side-out in Roswell’s next service, and with McSpadden at the line, a double-touch by the Coyotes saw Artesia at match point, 26-25.
A defensive miscue put Roswell back on offense, but Boyce was able to set the ball into open court to return it to the ‘Dogs, 27-26. A Coyote hit into the net on a serve by Kersie Beltran ended the evening.
“I think our last couple of games, we haven’t really been challenged too much, so that was good for us,” Williams said. “I want us to win, but I also want us to be pushed, especially early in the season, so I was proud of the girls for coming through when we needed to.”
The first two contests contained less suspense.
Game One got off to a somewhat close start, with Artesia up 12-9 midway through. Two service points by Elliot Harrison – both secured on blocks by McSpadden and Kaylee Wagner – and two kills from Boyce helped take the ‘Dogs to 18, and Boyce would proceed to serve out the game, 25-15, with help from a pair of aces and kills by Payton Chandler and Harrison.
The margin was similar through the early goings of Game Two before three-point services by both Harrison and McSpadden – the latter including two aces – made it 19-12. From there, Beltran delivered four from service to bring about game point, and a Chandler kill to end Roswell’s last service closed the book, 25-14.
Artesia (5-1) will now prepare to embark on a lengthy road trip that will take them first to Class 5A Hobbs Tuesday, then the Zia Classic tournament Sept. 21-22 in Roswell, Carlsbad Sept. 25, the Sept. 28-29 Rio Rancho Jamboree, and Roswell Oct. 2 before returning home Oct. 6 for a rematch with Hobbs.
“Hobbs is a good team,” Williams said. “They’re very athletic, they’re strong. But I expect us to go in there and play well.”