Class 2A volleyball:

Prep girls come up short

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

RIO RANCHO, N.M., November 21, 2012

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(Special to the Times – Donovan Quintero)

Navajo Prep Lady Eagles Desmarie Hanley (6) reaches up to block Cobre Lady Indian's Natasha Macon's (3) shot on Nov. 15 at Cleveland High during the New Mexico High School 2A volleyball quarterfinals game.

R eaching the state volleyball tournament always brings back fond memories for the girls of Navajo Prep.

But as for reaching the state title match, they'll have to wait another year to savor that moment as the Eagles had a hard time putting things together during their Class 2A quarterfinal match on Friday.

Navajo Prep bowed out of the tournament with a 25-20, 25-22, 25-18 loss to Santa Rosa at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho. Prep finished the year with an 18-4 record.

In all three games, the Eagles fell into early holes and had to play catch-up the rest of the way.

"We created a lot of mistakes," Navajo Prep coach Rainy Crisp said. "Once you start off that slow against a team that wants just as bad as you do, it's hard to climb out of that hole."

Their slow start on Friday seemed to be continuing theme that Crisp loathed.

"It was like that the whole state tournament," she said. "For whatever reason we couldn't get the momentum; we couldn't find our groove and rhythm.

"I was really hoping that we would come out strong, but we started every game slow," she added. "Against state tournament teams, everyone wants it and they are going to push and leave everything on the floor, so we can't have those slow starts."

In the opening game, Prep committed five errors and trailed 9-3 before they pulled within 14-11 behind three blocks and two kills sophomore middle hitter Desmarie Hanley.

Moments later, the Eagles strung together three straight points and cut Santa Rosa's lead down to 19-18.

But a Prep hitting error shifted the momentum the other way as the Lady Lions closed out the set on a 6-2 rally.

In the second, Santa Rosa jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead behind two winners from junior middle hitter Uriah Moncayo.

Nonetheless, Prep managed to seize a 15-13 lead midway through the set, but the Lions scored five straight points for an 18-15 lead that prompted Crisp to burn a timeout.

Both teams then traded sideouts with Santa Rosa winning 25-22.

The Eagles opened the third set with two errors, but for the most part they stayed within striking distance and before the Lions completed the swept with a 13-6 rally.

"It's a little frustrated," Navajo Prep outside hitter Danielle Coleman said. "Our team is lot better than we showed out there, but as a team I think we could have played with one heartbeat."

Coleman, who finished the game with six kills, said it was hard to end her senior year with a tough loss like this, but she is hoping that the underclassmen will use this as a learning experience.

"We can't have bad game at state," she said. "With a young team I know these girls will use this as a learning experience.

"And even though this was our year to play teams like Texico and Bosque I know that these girls well do very well next year," she added.

Besides, Coleman the Eagles will be losing seniors Aretina Mitchell and Lynnshellrea Begay to graduation.

"These girls were huge assets," Crisp said. "You know Danielle is a fantastic volleyball player. Her smartness on the court and her team leadership will be missed and she is definitely leaving big shoes to fill.

As for Mitchell and Begay, Crisp said they played a key role in the back row as defensive specialist.

With ten underclassmen, Crisp is looking forward to next season.

"I know this hurts, especially with the way we played," she said. "Sometimes the ball just rolls that way, but I do have some people that will definitely step up for us next year."

Danielle's younger sister, Jasmine Coleman, as well as Hanley are two players to look out for, Crisp said.

"With some work over the summer they are both going to dominate for us next season," Crisp said. "We just have to learn from this and come back next year ready to play."

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