Toppers pick up sweep in first round

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By The Staff

The Los Alamos Hilltopper volleyball team advanced to the quarterfinal round of the Class 4A state tournament with a 3-0 win Thursday.
Los Alamos, which finished second in pool A Thursday morning, swept the No. 11 seed, Farmington, 25-16, 26-24, 25-10 to move on in the tournament.
Friday morning, the Hilltoppers faced the seventh-seeded Roswell Coyotes. The winner of today’s contest was scheduled to play the winner between Los Lunas and St. Pius X Friday afternoon.
The Class 4A tournament, which is being played at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, concludes Saturday afternoon with the championship match. Los Alamos last won a state title in 1996 and made its most recent finals appearance in 2001.
It appeared that with Los Alamos’ second place finish in pool play, it might end up on the opposite side of the bracket as St. Pius, which has knocked the Hilltoppers out of the playoffs each of the last four years.
Instead, the Sartans only managed a second-place finish in pool D and had to play an opening round contest – the top four teams coming out of pool play got byes into the quarterfinals. The Sartans topped the Valencia Jaguars 3-0 Thursday afternoon.
On the other side of the bracket, Piedra Vista, which beat Los Alamos 2-0 in pool play, took on Albuquerque Academy in the quarterfinals and two-time defending champion Artesia, winner of pool D, was scheduled to face Centennial, the third team in the Hilltoppers’ pool Thursday morning.
Española Valley, the 12th and final seed in the 4A tournament, finished last in its pool and was eliminated Thursday by Academy, 3-1.
In Class 3A, Pojoaque won its pool Thursday and had a bye into that tournament’s quarterfinals. The Elks were scheduled to play Lovington this morning.
Pojoaque is seeking its fourth consecutive Class 3A title and fifth title since 2006.