Mental toughness turns the tide for Lady Broncs


Special to the Times | Ray Landry
Monument Valley’s Trinity Gowan (3) hits the ball against Kirtland Central’s Talia Ockerman (11) and Kambree Pierro (19) during the third match in the gold bracket at the Piedra Vista Invitational on Sept. 8.

After two full days of volleyball, mental toughness was all that was left to test for the Kirtland Central High School and Monument Valley High School volleyball teams.

The teams went head-to-head in the third-place match of the Piedra Vista Classic Volleyball Tournament gold bracket, where the Lady Broncos remained mentally tough. Kirtland Central defeated the Lady Mustangs 3-1 in sets 25-18, 20-25, 25-19, 25-16.

Kirtland Central head coach Nadia Begay-Watson said it was the perfect way for her team to flex its mental muscles after losing to Farmington in the first round of bracket play.

“We just had some mental issues with Farmington and they took care of us in three, which is why I’m glad that these girls can bounce back today and take care of Monument Valley,” she said.

The match started out promising for both teams.

They bounced back and forth for most of the first set before Kirtland Central made some short but significant runs that gave them the 19-8 lead.

The Lady Mustangs battled back but fell short of opportunities to square the set up. Kirtland Central took the first set 25-18.

Monument Valley took a quick and solid lead in the second set as the Lady Broncos followed close behind. The Lady Mustangs took the second set 25-20.

Monument Valley head coach Renell Gilmore said the team leaned on its bench, which pulled through for them throughout the tournament and in the final match.

“They did a really good job, they stepped it up really well,” she said. “It’s back to the drawing board because there were some girls that were ready to go.”

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Categories: Volleyball

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at or via cell at (505) 686-0769.