LA volleyball team swept by St. Piux X

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By Mike Cote

 One of the good things about playing a tough opponent early in the season is it lets you know right away what needs to improve.

Such was the case for the Los Alamos Hilltopper volleyball team Tuesday in its 2014 opener.

The Hilltoppers took on an old rival, the St. Pius X Sartans, at Griffith Gymnasium. The Sartans, using a balanced, efficient attack, upended the Hilltoppers in three straight sets.

Los Alamos started off the match fairly well, but St. Pius’ service game and attack got rolling midway through set one and carried it through the second set. Though Los Alamos mounted a stand in the third set, the Sartans still prevailed 25-16, 25-16, 26-24.

Last season, both Los Alamos and St. Pius got bumped out early from the state playoffs and, heading into this season, are both breaking in new head coaches.

Tuesday’s loss spoiled the debut of Los Alamos’ Sharleen Espinoza as the head of the Hilltopper program.

But, with a long history behind the rivalry, Espinoza said she expected nothing less than a dogfight.

“St. Pius is always tough competition to start the season,” Espinoza said. “They’re a good opponent to play against. Nerves did get to the girls in the first set, but my expectation was for us to play hard and play as a team. I think we did.”

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