LA goes 4-0 to open state play

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Volleyball: ’Toppers advance to Friday’s quarterfinal round

By Mike Cote

The Los Alamos Hilltopper volleyball team opened the Class 4A postseason with a spotless mark in pool play.
The Hilltoppers, the No. 3 seed in the 4A tournament, advances to the quarterfinal round of the playoffs. They will take on the winner of tonight’s match between Piedra Vista and Bernalillo. The quarterfinal contest is set for 8 a.m. at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.
“We looked really good today,” said Hilltopper outside hitter Erin Kirk. “The defense was really good. If a ball wasn’t touched by the blockers, it was dug up by someone.”
Los Alamos swept 11th-seeded Gallup Thursday to open Pool C play, winning 25-13, 25-19. Against sixth-seeded Moriarty, which gave Los Alamos a tough contest when the teams met during the regular season, the Hilltoppers prevailed 25-15, 25-23.
“The first game was definitely stronger than the second game,” said Los Alamos setter Savanah Romero, talking about the Moriarty contest. “I think we really struggled with serving, placing the ball in, but overall, we did really good.”
Los Alamos head coach Garry Maskaly said the team was working this week on serving more aggressively at the state playoffs. Serving was solid most of the way Thursday before the second set with Moriarty.
Against Moriarty’s Pintos, Los Alamos actually had to come back from a 21-17 deficit in the second set, but was able to rally and grab the Pool C title.
The win gives the Hilltoppers a bye through to the quarterfinals. The first round of direct elimination play is this evening.
All four of the top seeds in pool play won Thursday morning. Artesia, St. Pius X and Albuquerque Academy all picked up first-round byes as well.
The Hilltoppers beat Piedra Vista once and downed Bernalillo twice during the regular season.
“Piedra Vista is a strong team,” Maskaly said. “Bernalillo, we’ve seen a lot. Personally, I’d like to see Bernalillo do well. They had about 100 fans pack two sections.”
Moriarty finished second in pool and was set to play Kirtland Central this evening, while Gallup was eliminated.