District action started this week for area volleyball team.
By Mike Powers
News-Bulletin Sports Writer
Los Lunas Tigers
Los Lunas ended a 14-day break in their schedule when the Tigers hosted Manzano Tuesday in their first district game. While not ideal, the gap in games gave coach Tanya Sanchez a chance to “adjust a few things” at practice.
“We’ve had two weeks to analyze where we are at and where we want to be,” Sanchez said. “We’ve done some team bonding and looked at our mistakes and what we need to fix.”
Sanchez says the Tigers must finish games better, citing a five game loss to Volcano Vista after winning the first two sets.
Sanchez believes the Tigers, now 6-5 after a straight set victory over Manzano, are the favorite to repeat as district champion.
Sophomore Mia Mendoza was one assist away from reaching the career 1,000 mark.
In addition to Manzano, district rivals include Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe Capital, Rio Grande and Albuquerque High.
The Belen Eagles are 7-8 after a victory over Highland to start district play.
Coach Victoria Spragg believes the Eagles can make some noise during district play.
“We have a really great opportunity this year to be at the top end of the district,” Spragg believes.
“We are a very strong team, a very smart team,” Spragg said, but “at moments, we can get frazzled — we let that get the better of us.”
Because the Eagles only have one senior, middle blocker Maysen Lopez, Spragg says “it has made a difference in the way we function and get around the court.”
A number of players have changed positions this year, including rightside hitter Denae Chavira.
“She is stepping up into a leadership role,” according to Spragg.
Areceli Franco shifted from outside hitter.
“She’s doing great in the middle and having a really great impact,” the coach said.
In addition to Highland, the Eagles will also face Valencia, Rio Grande, St. Pius and Grants in the district.
The preseason has been up and down for the Valencia Jaguars, who fell to 7-8 after a five set loss at Grants Tuesday in the district opener.took a 7-7 record into the district opener.
Coach Melissa Marbury-Profit believes district play can provide a fresh start.
“We are still learning and growing, learning through the process,” Marbury-Profit said, referring to the Jags young roster.
Specifically, Valencia is looking to improve on service returns, but Marbury-Profit says the back row is doing a good job passing.
She hopes the players “mentally reset” as district starts.
Alisa Raley, Jaiden Montgomery and Brook Romero have been the Jaguars’ top attackers, with Monique Chavez doing well on service, according to the coach.
Marbury-Profit suggests teams should not underestimate VHS, which will face Belen, Rio Grande, Grants, St. Pius and Highland in district play.
She says coaches have set the bar high, and the Jaguars have “tons of potential.”
Mike Powers spent more than 40 years as a television news and sports anchor, mostly in the Albuquerque market. He has won numerous awards including New Mexico Sportscaster of the Year. He covers a wide range of sports, including the Valencia County prep scene.