. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Bulldog netters picked up another solid win over a quality Class 5A opponent Tuesday on the road, defeating the Eagles of Hobbs in four games, 25-13, 23-25, 25-16 and 25-16.

Hobbs is ranked in the top 10 in the MaxPreps 5A polls and poses a defensive threat Artesia head coach Alan Williams said always requires a bit of adjustment on the part of opponents.

“Hobbs is big and athletic, and it’s always hard to get kills against them because they block so well on defense,” Williams said today. “Our stats show that we didn’t have a lot of kills for a four-set match, but it was more just trying to keep the ball off the floor and let (Hobbs) make their own mistakes.”

Artesia accomplished that aim efficiently in the match’s first set, but the Eagles were able to gain the upper hand in a hotly-contested second to tie things up, 1-1.

The ‘Dogs were able to regroup and use solid passing to see them through the next two games, however.

“I was never comfortable,” Williams said. “We knew we were going to have to play well to win, but we passed the ball really well, and that definitely helped us.

“We didn’t make a lot of mistakes. We had a few hitting and serving errors, but we were able to keep it off the floor, and I thought we played a good game. Hobbs is a good team, and we had to play well to beat them, which is good for us.”

Dezaray Boyce led Artesia in kills on the night with 12, while Kyrah Gonzales and Kersie Beltran had 17 and 15 assists respectively. Paityn Houghtaling posted seven solo blocks and Malori McSpadden six, along with a pair of aces, and Elliot Harrison finished with 13 digs.

With the win, the ‘Dogs improved to 6-1 on the season as they prepare for their second tournament outing this weekend to the Zia Classic in Roswell.

Artesia will open pool play Friday morning in a group with Goddard, Espanola Valley, Clovis, Dexter and Goddard’s JV. The tourney’s second pool consists of Roswell High, Miyamura, Santa Fe High, Carlsbad, Hobbs and the Coyote JV.

Teams will be seeded into Saturday’s bracket play based on pool performance.

“We’ll at least be seeing Goddard in pool play, and that’ll tell us a lot, because they’re on a hot streak and doing well,” said Williams.