District 2-4A previews: Pojoaque Valley

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By Phil Scherer

Leading up to the new school year, the Los Alamos Monitor will be previewing the teams in Los Alamos High School’s new district 2-4A. The new district will provide new rivalries, renew old rivalries and continue existing rivalries. The new matchups should provide fun competition throughout the school year.

One of Los Alamos High School’s new district opponents this year will be the school closest to LAHS: Pojoaque Valley High School. This offers a chance for the two neighboring schools to develop a deeper rivalry than has existed in recent years when the schools were playing periodic non-district games. 

This year, the biggest rivalry may come from girls’ basketball, which was Pojoaque Valley’s top sport last school year. The team went 23-6 last year, including a convincing 60-27 win over LAHS during the early part of the season. 

The team appears like it will be strong again this season, losing only three players to graduation in May. Interestingly, the Elkettes lost in the Class 4A semifinals to Moriarty in the state tournament last year, and now the two teams find themselves in the same district heading into this fall. 

Adding even more intrigue to the rivalry is that LAHS’ new girls’ basketball coach is Lanse Carter, who won two state championships with the Elkettes in 2008 and 2009. Now, with a guaranteed two matchups every year with his former team, he hopes to accomplish the same heights at LAHS. 

Outside of girls’ basketball, many of the other sports at Pojoaque Valley are in rebuilding mode, coming off of unsuccessful seasons. Among the teams closest to contending again are volleyball and softball, each of which had periods of success during the last school year. 

The volleyball team went 10-11 last year, including a 4-4 record in district contests. It was an inconsistent season for the Elkettes, as the team mainly alternated wins and losses throughout the season. 

Early in the season, the Hilltoppers defeated the Elkettes 3-1. However, the Elkettes dominated against Taos High School throughout the season, winning all three matchups between the teams. The Elkettes will have a chance to continue that dominance as the schools play in the same district this school year. 

Pojoaque Valley also found success in softball, which went 11-15 last school year, and 5-7 in district play. Though LAHS beat them 12-1 in March at the beginning of the season, the team improved throughout the season, gaining in confidence with nearly every game. Near the end of the season, the Elkettes picked up a pair of impressive wins against Taos, 10-1 and 21-3. However, the team will now need a reset after graduating six of its top players in May. 

Outside of those sports, though, it appears like it will be another rough year in athletics for Pojoaque Valley. 

Last year, boys’ soccer went 5-13, and had a record of just 2-10 in district games. Though the team lost its leading goal scorer, it appears well set up for the future, as only two seniors graduated. 

Girls’ soccer was likely the biggest disappointment at Pojoaque Valley, as the team went just 1-14-3 last year, and scored only 9 total goals. For comparison’s sake, the team gave up 131 goals. The team had an 11-game stretch from Sept. 16 to Oct. 16 where they scored no goals. A total reset will be needed this year, as six seniors graduated in May. 

Also suffering through disappointing seasons were boys’ basketball and baseball, which both went winless in district play. 

Baseball went 5-21, while boys basketball went 6-20. Both teams will be looking for rebound seasons heading into the new school year.