All three Valencia County high school volleyball teams took part in the Santa Fe Tournament of Champions over the weekend.
The solid mix of 4A and 5A teams provided a good test with district play set to open in early October.
We reached out to all three head coaches to get their impressions on the season so far.
Valencia High School
The Valencia Jaguars moved into the 4A rankings last week at No. 9. Following the Santa Fe tournament, the Jags’ record is 5-4. During the tournament, VHS defeated Belen 3-2, but lost competitive matches to Aztec and Santa Fe Indian School.
Head coach Melissa Marberry-Profit says the Jags are working hard and improving, saying “The team needs to build more consistency from set to set within a match as well as match to match.”
Marberry-Profit said that will come when her young players “develop their consistency and confidence which will come through the process the more they play.”
The coach complimented several players, including middle hitter Alissa Railey for her kills and blocks, setter Monique Chavez for her hustle, Kolbi Sanchez for her all-around play, and freshman Jaiden Montogomery, Valencia’s hitting leader.
Los Lunas High School
After the Tournament of Champions, the Los Lunas Tigers sport a 4-4 record. LLHS defeated Robertson and Pojoaque Valley, but lost to unbeaten St. Michael’s.
Coach Tanya Sanchez said she is very pleased with the teams’ progress so far, especially against tough competition that included two losses to Cleveland.
“We have battled in some great matches against some pretty tough teams,” Sanchez commented.
The Tigers took fourth place in the Gold Bracket at the Jane Leupold Sweet Sixteen tournament in Las Cruces. Chavez says the Tigers are working hard every day and “…the team culture is getting stronger and the girls are really supporting each other on the court.”
Chavez says Aleigha Romero is an all-around player who leads the team in kill percentage, while Riley Luther and Mellody Chavez are right behind in that category.
Setter Mia Mendoza has 127 assists, and libero Lauren Shiplet has 71 digs.
Belen High School
The Belen Eagles were 2-4 heading into Tuesday’s game against East Mountain. At the Tournament of Champions, the Eagles defeated Grants, but lost to Gallup and Valencia.
Despite only playing a limited schedule so far this season, coach Victoria Spragg says BHS is improving every day.
“I am excited for what the future holds for our team,” Spragg said. “It hasn’t been an easy journey but these girls work hard every day and are constantly fighting and striving to get better.”
Spragg says the Eagles have shown good balance on the court.
“Each athlete has contributed in one way or the other at key times,” the coach said.
As for the remainder of the season, Spragg is optimistic.
“I only see immense growth for the entire program,” and with the players buying into what the coaches are teaching.
“It is allowing us to make strides to a productive and hopeful winning season,” Spragg said.
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.