Volleyball season starts with Belen tourney, VHS match

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The Valencia Jaguars officially kicked off the 2013 high school volleyball season for county teams on Tuesday at home against Santa Fe High (you can read about it in our first “Web First” posting on the front page).

But the season really swings into action with the Belen Eagle Volleyball Invitational at the Belen High School gym Friday and Saturday.

For the first time in a while, the Belen volleyball tournament will not include county teams Los Lunas or Valencia, but first-year BHS volleyball coach Dominick Romero is happy with the line-up.

“It’s a solid field and should be a good test for us,” Romero said.

Joining Belen are 2012 Class B runner-up Carrizozo, a pair of Class 2A tournament teams from last season — semifinalists Laguna-Acoma and quarterfinalists Cobre — as well as perennial state contenders Aztec from Class 4A and Socorro from Class 3A. Rounding out the tournament are Class 3A squads Taos and Thoreau.

Pool play begins at 9 a.m. Friday at the Belen High main gym and auxiliary gym and runs up to the final match at 6:45 p.m.

Saturday the tournament settles into bracket play with teams split into four-team tournaments, winners and consolation, with the first round games beginning at 10 a.m.

The tournament’s third place games will be played at 2 p.m. with the championship and consolation finals are both scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Match-ups for Saturdays’ game will be posted at www.news-bulletin.com late Friday evening.

The pool play-to-bracket play format of the tournament is similar to the format taken for state tournaments, said Romero, and also mimics the format for two other tournaments Belen will participate in — the Roswell Zia Tournament on Sept. 13 and 14 as well as the Santa Fe Tournament of Championships, Sept. 20 and 21.

“The nice part of (pool play) is that you get to see lot of different teams from around the state and it gives our players a state tournament type of experience,” Romero said. “You also get to play some and work out the jitters. We certainly want to get into the top bracket after pool play and pick up a couple wins on Saturday, if we’re playing sharp.”

Belen hosts Albuquerque Highland on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at the Belen High gym for its only pre-district match before participating in the two tournaments in Roswell and Santa Fe. The Eagles open district play on Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Los Lunas High.

The Tigers begin their season on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at Albuquerque La Cueva before heading to the Las Cruces Invite on Friday, Sept. 6, and Saturday, Sept. 7. The Tigers’ first home match is against Albuquerque Volcano Vista on Tuesday, Sept. 17.

Valencia plays at the Moriarty Pinto Tournament Sept. 6 and 7 before going on the road to Santa Fe Capital on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

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