Published: 12:05 am, Sun. Sep. 8th, 2019
The Bulldog volleyball team may not have ended up in the bracket they’d been aiming for Saturday at the Jane Leupold Sweet 16 Tournament in Las Cruces, but in the grand scheme of things, there were no bad teams in the tourney lineup.
So although an 8-4 showing in pool play Friday landed Artesia out of the running for the championship and into the Bronze Bracket, the girls in orange made the most of it, winning the bracket and keeping their 2019 record unblemished at 5-0 with victories over Roswell High and Gadsden.
“Today’s games went really well,” head coach Alan Williams said Saturday from the road. “We were especially happy with the win over Gadsden; they’re a good team and have beaten some good teams that are in our class, so that was a good win for us, and the girls played really well.”
The Panthers made the ‘Dogs work for it, topping Artesia 25-18 after the girls in orange pulled out a 26-24 victory in the opener. The Bulldogs were more efficient in Game Three, logging a 25-16 win, but again had to battle to close out the match in four, 27-25 in the fourth set.
They opened their bracket Saturday morning against a Roswell squad they’d just played Tuesday and defeated in three, and while it was difficult to get up to face the Coyotes again, Artesia got the job done, 25-19, 26-24 and 25-20.
“When you count the summer, this is probably the 10th time we’ve played Roswell, and I’m sure we’ll probably see them again in a tournament before they come back around on our regular schedule,”
Williams said. “I don’t think the girls were as motivated to play them, but they did what they needed to do.”
Artesia also performed well Friday against some stiff Class 5A competition in their morning pool, losing both games but battling against Cleveland and splitting with Mayfield. A split with Deming, however, dropped the ‘Dogs in the standings.
“We just lost a game we shouldn’t have, and that was the difference between playing on the championship side and on the consolation side,” said Williams. “We played our best against the better teams we faced, but we didn’t against the weaker teams, and that cost us.
“We learned our lesson about needing to start the day off right.
We have a few more tournaments this year, so hopefully we’ll show improvement there.”
Stat wise, Elliot Harrison and Kaylee Wagner each had eight kills against Roswell, Harrison combining that with three aces and Wagner with four blocks. Brooke Kinnibrugh and Sadie Ramirez finished with 19 and 14 digs respectively, while Cora Cox posted 23 assists.
Versus Gadsden, Cox again delivered 23 assists and one block, Harrison had 15 digs and 12 kills, Wagner served up four aces and one block, Ramirez posted 12 digs, and Presley Skinner added a block.
Harrison and Ramirez were both named to the All-Tournament Team.
The Bulldogs will now prepare to do something unusual this week:
play in their home gym.
Artesia will host its 2019 home opener at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday against Clovis at Bulldog Pit. The ‘Dogs topped the Wildcats in four Aug. 29 on the road.
“We’re looking forward to playing at home… that’ll be a new experience for us,” Williams joked. “We played Clovis earlier, so we know they have some good players and a great coach, and we expect them to be better than they were. Hopefully, they can push us and we can put on a good show for the crowd.”