Volleyball drops second straight road game

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By Phil Scherer

Despite playing well for much of the match, the Los Alamos High School volleyball team struggled to close out sets against Santa Fe High and fell Thursday night 3-1. 

The Hilltoppers entered the match hoping to rebound after a loss earlier this week against St. Michael’s, and got off to a much better start against a tough Demonettes team. 

After falling behind 11-6 in the first set, LAHS quickly rebounded to take a 14-13 lead on an ace serve by Elodie Thelliez. The Hilltoppers were unable to extend that lead, however, as Santa Fe quickly gained control again. Though Thelliez, Gracie Swenson and Elise Olivas picked up big points at the end of the set, the Hilltoppers fell behind 1-0 with a 25-20 loss. 

The second set was the best of the night for LAHS, but it was far from perfect. After taking a 12-10 lead on a kill by Gabriella Duran, the Hilltoppers were outscored 10-1 over the next 11 points, and fell behind 19-13. That’s when the team picked up its energy, as Natalie Gallegos picked up a powerful kill and Kyla Sandoval followed with an impressive ace serve to cut the deficit to 19-16. 

Santa Fe refused to give up, though, and extended the lead to 23-19 with impressive play up front, avoiding the LAHS blocks. The hard work eventually paid off for the Hilltoppers, as Sophia Salazar picked up a kill, and then an ace three points later to tie the score 23-23. After trading points, Ariel Edkin put the Hilltoppers on top 25-24 and LAHS won the set 26-24, evening the match at 1-1. 

It appeared that the momentum of the second set carried over to the third set, as the Hilltoppers jumped out to a 15-11 lead thanks to the strong play of Salazar and Gallegos, both of whom picked up big kills in the early going. 

However, Santa Fe climbed back into the set with powerful hitting, evening the score at 15-15. The teams traded points all the way to 22-22, when Santa Fe took control and won 25-23, swinging all of the momentum to the Demonettes’ bench with a 2-1 advantage.

The momentum swing proved to be too much for the Hilltoppers to overcome in the fourth set. Despite jumping out to a quick 8-4 lead, LAHS could not keep its energy up for the entire set. 

The Demonettes took complete control of the match and took an 18-9 lead in the blink of an eye, seemingly putting the set out of reach. 

Though LAHS rallied back within two points by the end of the set, the lead was too much to handle as the Hilltoppers fell 25-21 and lost the match 3-1. 

Despite playing well across stretches in both games this week, the Hilltoppers fall to 1-2 this season. 

LAHS returns home at 6 p.m. Tuesday for a match against St. Pius, which will provide another tough early season test for the Hilltoppers.