Lady Jag volleyball sweeps Socorro

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Valencia High’s volleyball team used an athletic blend of offensive aggressiveness and court coverage to win at Socorro in straight sets Tuesday.

Jonathan Miller-El Defensor Chieftain photo: Dayanna Iturralde of Valencia takes a swing in Tuesday’s match at Socorro. The Lady Jaguars swept Socorro in three games, and will play Socorro again, this time at VHS, Tuesday at about 6:30 p.m.

The 25-19, 25-20, 25-21 win improved the Jags’ record to 5-2, while Socorro fell to 7-4.

The Jags will play host to Highland on Saturday at 3 p.m., and Socorro will travel to Tomé for a rematch with the Lady Warriors on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 6:30 p.m.

At Socorro on Tuesday, the host Warriors had trouble handling the Valencia serve most of the night, and the normally consistent Socorro block was all but negated by the outside hitting of Dayanna Iturralde, Aizlinn Guiterrez and Gabriella Calderon for the Jaguars.

The visiting team used its length to tap the ball just over the reach of the Lady Warriors’ block, then, when the Socorro coverage moved up, Valencia used its heavy hitters to stretch out the court.

“They were tipping all over the place,” Socorro head coach Joni Mauldin said of the Valencia attack. “We couldn’t pick up on the tip. My girls kept kind of backing up, and they burned us on the (back) line I don’t know how many times tonight. That’s hard to pick up.”

In the first set, Valencia used its aforementioned service game to discombobulate the Socorro defense a bit and jump out to an 11-4 lead.

The Lady Warriors managed to regroup and close the gap some when Ashley Pyke looped one over Valencia’s Peyton Linthicum, and Maudie Mauldin pushed a ball down in between two Jags defenders. But it was too little, too late for Socorro in the first.

After it had cut the lead to 24-19, Giovanna Rosas knocked a serve into the net to give Valencia a one-set advantage.

The Lady Warriors came out in the second set looking far more poised and prepared, and shot out to a 6-4 lead.

But Valencia went on a quick spurt of its own, and took an 11-10 lead when Caroline Lucero rainbowed a high-arcing serve over the top of the Socorro defense, a lead it wouldn’t relinquish in the second set.

Maria Alderete tied things at 13 with a scorching serve Valencia couldn’t handle, but a return error by Rosas gave the Jaguars a 22-18 lead and Calderon served the set out at 24-20 to give Valencia a two sets to none lead.

Two more successful attacks by the senior Mauldin eventually gave Socorro a 19-16 lead, but that’s when Valencia stepped up its game — again.

The Jags ended the match on a 9-2 run and Iturralde put the finishing touch on with a nifty kill that hugged the Socorro side.

Valencia will travel to Gallup to open Distrct 6-4A play on Oct. 2.