BHS volleyball wins twice, will host Valencia

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The Belen High volleyball team did something this week it hadn’t done since early September: it won consecutive matches.

Jason W. Brooks-News-Bulletin photo: Belen’s Maria Montoya makes a dig in Thursday’s win over Miyamura. The Lady Eagles finish the regular season by hosting Valencia High on Tuesday and by traveling to Grants on Thursday.

The Lady Eagles improved to 7-10 overall and 3-5 in District 6-4A with a 3-1 Tuesday win at Gallup and a Thursday home sweep of Miyamura.

Belen is set to host one of its biggest matches of the season when it hosts Valencia for a district match at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Eagles close the regular season at Grants on Thursday, Nov. 1, with the District 6-4A tournament scheduled for the following week.

The win at Gallup was hard-earned. The Eagles won the first game, 25-9, but then lost a marathon game two, 33-31. Belen twice came from five points down to tie the Bengals (now 4-13, 2-6) in the second game.

Belen got back on track, winning game three, 25-13, and game four, 25-21, to take the 3-1 win.

Miyamura provided little resistance in Thursday’s match, often failing to get a good first touch on Belen’s serves, and looking intimidated at the net. The Patriots (5-12, 1-7) hardly looked like a team that beat Belen in five games in Gallup on Oct. 9.

Belen won Thursday’s match by 25-13, 25-16 and 25-14 scores.

But Belen also played well, especially in passing and setting. Eagle hitters, especially Victoria Spragg, were often able to slam the ball down for kills.

“We didn’t serve as well as we normally do,” BHS coach Barbara Rodriguez said after Thursday’s win. “But our back row is playing much better, and moving their feet. We’re not trying to get to everything with our upper body anymore.”

The second game was the most competitive. The Eagles led 6-1 and 9-5 before the Patriots rallied to tie the match at 12-12.

Belen, aided by strong serves from Maggie Baca and others, then scored 13 of the last 17 points to pull away.

The Eagles seemed to have improved since the return of injured seniors Erica Sluder and Lorena Chavira. A third senior, Sierra Cordova, is improving in her back-row play.

“Where we line up makes a difference, too,” said Rodriguez. “Where we set up for each point, each defensive set-up, has to be done with purpose.”


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