Prep volleyball: Wingate loses a tough one, falls in straight set

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

FORT WINGATE, October 4, 2012

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(Times photo – Paul Natonabah)

TOP: Laguna-Acoma's Aubree Carr (11) attempts to push the ball over the outstretched hands of two Wingate defenders during their contest at Wingate High on Sept. 29. LA swept Wingate 3-0.

T here was no magical comeback for the Wingate Lady Bears on Saturday.

After trailing by as much as three points the Bears tied the third set for ninth time at 23-all on a 4-0 run.

But in the waning moments, the Laguna-Acoma Hawks staved off that Wingate rally with two kills by senior middle hitter Aubree Carr.

With that the Hawks completed the sweep with a 25-19, 25-20, 25-23 win.

"We couldn't get any energy or any momentum going today," Wingate coach Melody West said. "It felt really slow, but I guess some days are just going to be like that."

Besides struggling with momentum, West said they had a hard time keeping up with Laguna-Acoma's offensive attack.

"They were real quick," she said. "I was telling the girls that they set up their offensive very quick and I don't think we were able to get a block up fast enough.

"Their passing was right on," she added.

While Laguna-Acoma dictated the match with their crisp offense, it was Wingate who started Saturday's match on fire with a quick 5-0 lead behind two aces by Gerilyn Antonio and two kills by senior middle hitter Beth Pine in game one.

The Hawks pulled out of that early slump and tied the game at 12-12 with nine winners headed by senior middle hitter Aubree Carr, who finished with a match-high 17 kills.

In that run, Carr knocked down three kills while senior setter Randi Romero had two of her team-high four aces.

The match remained tight until the visitors closed out the set on an 8-2 rally with Carr and Raquel Aquino combining for five kills.

"The girls came in confident and it took them awhile to get warmed up," Laguna-Acoma coach Bernadine Douma said, adding that they had a seven-day layoff in between games.

"The last time we were on the court was at the Santa Fe tournament," she said.

In that tournament, the Hawks reached the gold bracket and finished in fourth place losing Class 4A opponents Piedra Vista and Moriarty with the latter match going five games.

We finished first in our pool and we played good competition," Douma said.

"We surprised a lot of teams there," Carr added. "We were the only (Class) 2A school and we got a lot of compliments."

As for facing PV, the top-ranked team in Class 4A, Carr said they held their own despite getting swept.

"They have that one girl (Katie Hegarty) who is really dominant," she said. "I think she is a Division I player, but playing them was a great learning experience."

Since then Carr said they have improved on ball placement.

"I think we're really seeing the court a lot better now," she said. "Once we find an open area, we'll keep going there until they catch on."

That was recipe for success for the Hawks as they opened up 10-3 lead in game two with Carr placing four of her tips with winners.

For much of the set, the game remained a seven-point margin before the Hawks pulled out a 25-20 win.

Laguna-Acoma picked up where they left off in game three with a 3-0 lead, but after Wingate tied it up a 10-all both teams traded side outs until the Hawks went on a 6-1 run and earned a 18-13 lead on a kill by Malika Bahe.

In the midst of that rally, Wingate lost a serve due to some confusion with their libero.

As always a libero can substitute for a back row players, but Wingate substituted its player twice in one rotation.

According to the rules international rules "once a libero substitutes out, she must wait one rally before she can come in."

"That was a momentum breaker," West said. "I questioned (the referee) about that because two weeks ago that didn't seem to be an issue. I have to get some clarification on that again."

Despite that, Wingate gave the Laguna bunch a push before falling in straight sets.

"As soon as we reach 20 point we usually can finish it off," Douma said. "But we had to push hard for the last two points."

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