The Los Lunas volleyball team is the No. 12 seed in this year’s state championships, which begin today at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.
The Tigers, who fell to St. Pius X in the district championship last Friday 3-1, were the only Valencia County team to qualify.
The first match for LLHS is this morning against No. 5 seed Albuquerque Academy at 9:45 a.m.
Los Lunas was the final team into the field, and qualified by winning a three team tiebreaker with Kirtland Central and Moriarty.
Using the six criteria points voted on by the coaches and used by the New Mexico Activities Association to determine brackets, the Tigers finished with the lowest score of 11.5 thanks to a head-to-head win over Kirtland Central.
That was the difference for the Tigers between making the field and being left out.
The tournament uses a double elimination format, so a team must lose twice to be eliminated.
The winner of the matchup between the Tigers and the Chargers will advance to play Portales at 4:45 p.m., while the loser will play the loser of the match between No. 3 seed Artesia and the winner of the match between Santa Teresa and Miyamura tomorrow morning at 9:45.
In the district tournament, the Tigers advanced to the championship by defeating Grants in straight sets last Monday in the opening round.
St. Pius, as the regular season champion, didn’t have to play until the championship match, so that made the Tigers the highest seed through the week. Valencia staged an impressive comeback, coming back from a two set deficit to defeat Belen 3-2 and advance to take on the Tigers on Wednesday.
The Jags put up a good fight, keeping the match close throughout, but it wasn’t enough to derail the Tigers, who won in four sets to advance to a rematch with St. Pius.
Heading into the championship, the Sartans, the No. 1 seed in 4A, hadn’t lost a set since a 3-1 win over the Cleveland Storm in late September.
From that perspective, the Tigers put up the toughest fight the team has seen in all of district play, but it was only enough to earn them that one set as they fell in four.
Albuquerque Academy, the Tigers first round opponent, comes into the tournament with a 13-9 record overall, 9-1 in district.
The Chargers won the regular season title and then the district tournament championship with a 3-1 win over the No. 9 seed Hope Christian.
Much like Los Lunas, Academy for the most part rolled through district play and didn’t lose a set to a team other than Hope.
The Chargers are the sixth ranked team in Class 4A according to the latest MaxPreps rankings, and is ranked 17th in the state.
With a win, the Tigers will face Portales on Thursday evening.
The Rams went 18-5, 4-2 in district. Portales finished second in the district in both the regular season and the tournament, falling to Goddard in a district tie-breaker and then again in the tournament championship, both times in five sets.
Class 4A district 4 is arguably the toughest district in the classification, as the top three teams earned top four seeds in the state tournament.
A loss will leave the Tigers on the other side of the bracket where, assuming the higher seed prevails in both games, they should play Santa Teresa