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Volleyball: LA knocks off Espanola Valley in big road match

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By Mike Cote

A long delay in the fourth game didn’t slow the Los Alamos Hilltopper volleyball team down very much in a critical District 2AAAA match Saturday.

With Los Alamos up by double-digits in the fourth game, the lights at Española Valley’s Edward Medina Gymnasium went out due to a nearby thunderstorm. They remained off for 2-1/2 hours.

But after the delay — and a 15-minute warm-up period for both teams — the Hilltoppers finished off game four and the match, winning 19-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-14.

Los Alamos started off Saturday’s contest slowly, something that’s quickly becoming a habit for the squad, and head coach Diana Stokes didn’t want a repeat performance of that coming off the delay.

Fortunately, that didn’t happen.

With Saturday’s win, Los Alamos kept its share of the District 2AAAA lead. Los Alamos and co-leader Capital will meet Wednesday at Griffith Gymnasium for sole possession of the lead at the halfway point of the 2AAAA season.

“Capital will be a tough one,” Stokes said. “They went four games with Española (Valley), too. They’re going to be tough. They’re very scrappy.”

After Saturday’s game one loss — the teams were running about even before the Sundevils won seven of the last 10 points to put it away — Los Alamos led most of the way for the remaining three games.

The Hilltoppers were playing without three starters, Molly Willms, Shannon Burns and Sara Scott.

Sophomore Brooke Romero filled in for Scott at the libero spot and led the team with 16 digs.

Alex Nichols finished with a team-high 13 spike kills, while Taylor Ealey finished with 10 spike kills and three block kills. Sabrina Little finished with nine kills.

Jessica Stokes had 32 assists from the setter spot, but during the match the Sundevils tried hitting directly at her to take her out of her game. She also finished with 12 digs, while several Los Alamos players picked up assists to help Stokes out.

Oksana Tretiak finished with three block kills to help out the Hilltoppers, who broke the .500 mark for just the second time this season (8-7).

Both Capital and Los Alamos have 3-0 records in 2AAAA heading into Wednesday’s match.