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The Los Alamos Hilltopper volleyball team wanted to get up early on the Bernalillo Spartans, the squad that’s so far given it the toughest time in District 2AAAA play, and stay there.
And Saturday afternoon, that’s exactly what the Hilltoppers did.
Los Alamos routed Bernalillo in the first set of Saturday’s contest, 25-9, then kept its mojo going into the second set, taking that frame 25-13. Los Alamos held on in the third set for a 25-21 win and the sweep.
Saturday marked the first set of Los Alamos’ second go-round in 2AAAA. In its district opener Sept. 29, Bernalillo took Los Alamos the distance, winning the first and third sets, forcing Los Alamos to come back before taking a 3-2 victory.
That match was the only one of the Hilltoppers’ previous 10 contests in which anyone had pushed them beyond three sets.
Knowing the Spartans might be upset-minded Saturday, the Hilltoppers wanted to send them reeling early.
“We played really clean,” Los Alamos head coach Garry Maskaly said. “We had very few service errors in the first two games. I don’t know if we had any hitting errors in the first two games.”
Los Alamos wasn’t quite as sharp in the third set, but it was still efficient enough to put Bernalillo away and take one more step toward clinching its third consecutive 2AAAA regular season title.
Sabrina Little, who is making a strong case for being the district’s Most Valuable Player this year, once again had a strong outing, putting up big numbers in the three-setter.
Little finished with 13 spike kills, nearly matching her total of 16 a week earlier against Capital.
In the first Los Alamos-Bernalillo contest, Little finished with an astounding 29 spike kills, one of the top totals in the history of Hilltopper volleyball.
Little’s toughest competition for a MVP nod this season might come from her own back row. Danielle Ortiz, one of the smallest players in the district, is likewise having an outstanding district season. Ortiz finished Saturday’s match with 18 digs, second on the team behind only Alicia Rendon’s 19.
Rendon added nine spike kills on offense. Chase Ealey finished with 10 spike kills and Oksana Tretiak chipped in six more.
The win gives the Hilltoppers (12-5 overall, 5-0 in 2AAAA) their fourth consecutive shutout and their 11th straight victory.
Should Los Alamos beat Santa Fe at home Wednesday and get the right combination of other wins and losses among its district foes between now and then, it could clinch the district title. Los Alamos swept Santa Fe at Toby Roybal Gymnasium two weeks ago.
Regardless of the ultimate outcome of 2AAAA – the Hilltoppers will in all likelihood clinch the regular season title at some point, even if it doesn’t happen to occur Wednesday – Los Alamos is a virtual shoo-in to make the Class AAAA state championship field. Maskaly said his team is going to start making preparations for the playoffs.
“There’s a few things we’re working on, little things to help us pick up a point here and there type of thing,” Maskaly said. “As we go on, we don’t want to give up points we don’t have to.”