The Los Lunas High School volleyball team came through again — winning its fourth five-game match of the season on Tuesday when they beat Alamogordo in the District 3-5A opener for both teams in Los Lunas.
In a match that was played in streaks, the Los Lunas Lady Tigers (10-2) rallied past the Alamogordo Tigers (1-9), 4-15, 15-4, 15-7, 13-15, 15-12.
Los Lunas scored five of the last seven points in the decisive fifth game, when rally scoring is applied to determine the winner.
Los Lunas coach Tara Trujillo said her team’s experience in previous matches, and in practice, proved to be beneficial against an inexperienced Alamogordo team.
“In practice, we always use rally scoring. I think it’s important to get them to understand that everything counts,” she said.
Los Lunas was reminded of that fact in the first game. After jumping to a 4-0 lead in the first game, Alamogordo scored 15 straight points to take an early advantage in the match.
“I think we were nervous that it was our first district game,” said Amy Wortman, who scored 10 kills in the match. “After we lost the first game, we realized it was time to start playing, and we put them away like they put us away the first game.”
Los Lunas responded by scoring the first 13 points of the second game and eventually won 15-4.
Sabre Dereta, who led Los Lunas with 19 kills, was most effective hitting and blocking from the middle-front position during the middle of the match. And Los Lunas seemingly had the match well in hand after it won the third game, 15-7, and took a 13-6 lead in the fourth.
“We should have finished it right away, but we let them back in the match,” Wortman said.
Los Lunas suffered what coach Trujillo described as a “mental lapse” while Alamo rattled off nine points in a row to even the match at two games apiece.
“To be ahead 13-6 and let the other team come back and beat you is unacceptable,” the coach said. Yet she was confident her team would win, just as it’s done every time before.
“Alamogordo is a pretty inexperienced team. They lost nine players to graduation,” she said. “Skill-wise, we were better, and we were better at the net.”
But to say Los Lunas “survived” the scare would be accurate.
“Truthfully,” Trujillo said, “we were just happy to get out of that with the win. We didn’t play our best match.”
Los Lunas was still recovering from its first two losses of the season at last weekend’s Tournament of Champions in Santa Fe. There, they played without outside hitters Keri Hall and Colleen Page, who sat out due to sickness and injury.
Both were back on the floor Tuesday and should be further recuperated for their next match at Anthony Gadsden on Saturday.
Another five-game match is a possibility. “Gadsden took Mayfield to five games on Tuesday, so we’re looking for them to be pretty solid,” Trujillo said. “They’re probably after us anyway, since we knocked them out of the tournament last year.”
Los Lunas recorded its only district wins against Gadsden last year — once during the regular season and once during the district tournament.
The Tigers return home to face Las Cruces Mayfield on Tuesday. The varsity match begins about 6:30 p.m.