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Toppers, Sundevils to meet tonight

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Volleyball: Winner takes over sole possession of first place in 2-4A

By The Staff

The two top teams in the District 2-4A volleyball standings will face off tonight when Los Alamos’ Hilltoppers will take on Española Valley’s Sundevils.
That match is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Edward Medina Gymnasium in Española.
Heading into that contest, the Hilltoppers and Sundevils are tied for the 2-4A lead. Both teams sport 2-0 district records.
Española Valley, which has been Los Alamos’ toughest district opponent for the last several seasons, will be heading into tonight’s contest on a roll. It has won three straight matches, including a 3-2 victory over Santa Fe Sept. 28 and a 3-1 win over Capital Saturday.
The Sundevils (6-6 overall) haven’t yet grabbed what one could call a signature win on their season. They were swept Sept. 17 by Farmington and Sept. 20 by Albuquerque Academy, although they’re .500 against 4A competition this season.
However, a win tonight over the third-ranked Hilltoppers would certainly qualify as a signature victory.
For Los Alamos (11-3, 2-0), it could land squarely in the driver’s seat of the district with a win tonight. Then it would have to beat only Capital (6-7, 0-1) Saturday at home to finish with a spotless record in the first round of district play and look forward to three of its final four 2-4A contests at home.
Los Alamos swept Santa Fe (4-9, 0-2) Saturday night to pick up its second 2-4A win. Saturday’s win followed up a close contest against Bernalillo (8-2, 0-1) in which the Hilltoppers prevailed 3-1, but trailed early in every set.
Working in the Hilltoppers’ favor right now is good hitting balance. Middle blocker Chase Ealey, who has done most of her damage from the outside in recent contests, remains the Hilltoppers’ primary offensive weapon, but the Hilltoppers have also gotten good production out of their other hitters, particularly Alicia Rendon and younger players like Claire Stewart and Samantha Fenner. Fenner had a key block late in the fourth set against Bernalillo which all but salted away that contest.
Los Alamos has won four contests in a row and eight of its last nine heading into tonight. Additionally, the Hilltoppers have beaten the Sundevils in five straight matches, including a pair of sweeps during the 2010 season.