Valencia volleyball bests Socorro again

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There were a couple of momentum breakers in Tuesday’s volleyball tussle between host Valencia and Socorro.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Valencia's Peyton Linthicum attempts a kill in a recent match. Valencia takes on West Mesa at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday in Albuquerque.

Neither went the Warriors’ way as Valencia only trailed in the first game on the way to a straight-set win, 25-18, 25-11 and 25-10.

Valencia improved to 6-2 with to a 3:30 p.m. Saturday match at West Mesa. Socorro fell to 7-6.

In Tuesday’s rematch, Socorro fell victim to aggressive net play that turned the tide in the opening game. It was the only contest of the three that was close.

The teams traded points early as Class 3A Socorro posted a 7-6 lead. It would be their last advantage of the night over the 4A Jaguars.

Brenda Baeza got a kill to tie the contest 8-all. The Jags went ahead on Baeza’s roll shot over the Warrior front line to secure the lead for good.

It was a Baeza kill that settled the best point of the night, as Socorro had two athletic digs to save the volley. Valencia took a 17-10 lead on the big junior captain’s kill. Momentum was now in the Jags’ court.

Valencia went out to a 6-0 lead in game two, winning easily.

In the final set, Socorro only trailed 3-1 when the net broke, causing about a 20-minute delay while a new net was put in place. The time off didn’t help the Warriors as Valencia used three kills from Aizlinn Guiterrez to move to a 12-3 lead.

Socorro rallied to close to 14-6 on a roll shot over the blocks of Peyton Linthicum and Alexis Montaño. But the Jaguars controlled the rest of the set.

Valencia coach Karen Chavez noted after the contest that her club had improved since beating Socorro in straight sets on Sept. 18.

“I would say that our offense is a little faster,” said Chavez. “Our blocking has improved.”

Valencia will open their District 6-4A schedule at Gallup at about 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. But West Mesa, an Albuquerque Class 5A program that is 1-4 after falling to Santa Teresa on Saturday, is up before the district slate gets underway.

“They are a competitive program,” said Chavez of the Mustangs.


-- Email the author at mstearns@news-bulletin.com.