VHS beats Grants in final home match

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In the volleyball match Thursday night with Grants, some things were missing for the host Valencia squad.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Returning a Grants smash is Valencia’s Caroline Lucero during the Jaguars’ 3-1 win Thursday night on the Jags’ home court. Valencia will finish the regular season at Belen on Tuesday night, with the varsity scheduled to start at around 6:30 p.m.

The Jaguars won 3-1 as they showed a superior performance at the net through most of the night.

Coach Karen Vanessa Chavez was suspended for the District 6-4A contest. Some motivation seemed to be absent from the only set the Jags lost, as well.

Valencia (16-3, 7-1) is scheduled to face in-county rivals Belen (7-10, 3-5) on Tuesday and Los Lunas (17-1, 8-0) Thursday in the final match of the regular season. Valencia had to forfeit their final match of the season for scheduling too many matches (See the separate story in today’s issue for the complete details).

Grants (8-9, 3-5) fell into a third place tie with Belen with the Valencia loss.

The fire shown in the first two sets was missing in the third game. Grants took a 25-23 win during which the Jags tied the score eight times, but were never able to take the lead in the second half of the set.

Valencia won the first set 25-9 by not allowing a single service point to the Pirates.

Alexis Montaño served out the final five points as the Jags went up, 1-0.

Valencia was almost as dominant in the second set, racing out to a 12-1 lead.

Valencia closed it out by returning to the dominating net play that controlled the first two sets. The Jags built a 20-11 edge in taking the final set, 25-16. Senior Aizlinn Guiterrez got the match point on a kill from the left side of the net.

Junior varsity coach Dave Linthicum, filling in for Chavez, explained that the third-game lull had been happening for the last few matches.

“We struggled in the third game. They picked it up. We actually played better in the third game tonight then we have in the last couple (of matches),” said Linthicum.

Valencia’s senior hitter agreed.

“I think the third game always gets to us. I think we get too relaxed and think that we are going to win in three. We have to work more,” said Guiterrez.

The fourth game was more to Guiterrez’s liking.

“I really count on my setters. They are the quarterbacks on the floor, it all comes down to a good pass,” said Guiterrez.

Linthicum was happy with the team’s performance as they mostly dominated Grants.

“I am just the B-team coach for these A-team players. The girls were awesome tonight; they were aggressive at the net and never let up. The seniors on this team played great,” said Linthicum.


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