Spragg, Chavira among honorees from Belen volleyball

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Though the Belen High volleyball team didn’t get as many wins in 2012-13 as it hoped for, the Lady Eagle players looked like a sharp, complete squad at times.

News-Bulletin file photo: Belen senior Lorena Chavira, right, was named to the All-District 6-4A second team for 2012-13. The Lady Eagles finished with a 7-13 record.A couple of the players who contributed to the team’s 7-13 season were recently honored — as were some of the Eagles’ best student-athletes.

Victoria Spragg was named the District 6-4A Player of the Year, and was named first-team All-6-4A and second-team Class 3A/4A All-Metro. Senior setter Lorena Chavira made the 6-4A second team.

The pair were also joined by Erica Sluder, Alex Silva and Michelle Benavidez on the district’s all-academic team. The district’s all-academic squad is comprised of juniors and seniors who have cumulative grade point averages of 3.5 or higher.

Spragg, who has already committed verbally to the University of New Mexico to play volleyball, still has another year to improve as a high-school player. The 6-foot, 4-inch junior was not only one of the team’s setters the past few years, but has also been a devastating hitter and blocker in four years of varsity play.

“Victoria was our stability and power,” said BHS coach Barbara Rodriguez. “We wanted her to hit as much as possible.  She played every minute of every game, and was a phenomenal setter for us, as well as our dominating hitter.”

Rodriguez, who has coached many talented players in her 20-plus years at the helm, praised Spragg’s court sense.

“Victoria is very smart, and giving her the setting position let her develop her court sense and an aggressive-offensive mind. She saved about four to six over-passed balls a game. The girls look to her as a leader and with the support of the team was given a chance to develop her leadership skills. She developed communication skills, patience and a sense of her teammates bringing out the best in them.”

Chavira was one of the team’s main setters the past two seasons. She returned from an injury in time for most of District 6-4A matches.

“Even when Lorena was off the court, she was constantly talking to the girls and trying to motivate them. She gave Kaylyn Gomez setting tips and mentored her to fill Lorena’s shoes while she was out.”

Rodriguez said Spragg and Chavira were “true captains and leaders throughout the season.”

The coach also praised the attention to academic work by her team. Five of the eight upperclassmen on the varsity received the academic honors.

The all-academic players all had high grade point averages, with Spragg posting a cumulative 4.0 mark, followed by Chavira (3.867), Sluder (3.795), Silva (3.533) and Benavidez (3.5).

Chavira was named BHS volleyball’s Outstanding Senior Student Athlete at the All-Metro level, and she and Sluder made the All-Metro All-Academic team.

“The volleyball court is an extension of the classroom,” said Rodriguez. “I cannot express enough how proud I am of my team’s academic focus. It pleases me to see that these students are going above, and beyond meeting the high expectations that is asked of them. This, along with their experience of working with a team, will promote success in their lives.”


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