Volleyball: Hilltoppers open 2008 Wednesday at St. Pius X

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By Mike Cote

When the New Mexico High School Coaches Association preseason Class AAAA volleyball poll was released last week, the Los Alamos Hilltoppers were listed in seventh place.

That’s just fine with Diana Stokes.

“I hope everyone overlooks us,” said Stokes, the sixth-year head coach of Los Alamos.

With only two returning starters going into the 2008 season, Stokes may just get her wish from most of AAAA’s competition, except for possibly one team.

When chatting last season with Moriarty head coach Kim Bell, Stokes was told the Pintos would never look past the Hilltoppers, who seem to give them trouble every time the two meet.

Los Alamos will have to give the Pintos some trouble this season if it has aspirations for winning a state title. Moriarty is the defending Class AAAA champ and has almost all of its team returning from that squad, not the least of which are twin sisters Kristin and Brandi Valencia.

The Hilltoppers, after an intense summer, are ready to get the 2008 season rolling. They open Wednesday at St. Pius X.

Los Alamos returns just senior Jessica Stokes and junior Taylor Ealey from the 2007 squad that went 13-9 but peaked at the right time, winning the District 2AAAA tournament and stunning Goddard to advance to the state semifinals before falling to the Roswell Coyotes.

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