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Volleyball sweeps Taos on Senior Night

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By Phil Scherer

Despite a few shaky moments in the first two sets, the Los Alamos High School volleyball was able to win on its Senior Night 3-0 over Taos, continuing its late-season surge. 

Since Sept. 15, the Hilltoppers have been one of the most dominant teams in the state, going 8-1, with five of the wins requiring the minimum three sets. Unlike some of the other matches, though, Tuesday night’s win over the Tigers proved to be difficult and required some outstanding play from LAHS’ top players. 

Led by star player Faith Powell, Taos came out strong in the first set and did not allow the Hilltoppers to gain any sort of an edge. LAHS appeared to be out of sync for much of the first set, and relied on errors by the Tigers to pick up quite a few points. Powell made an impact for the Tigers at the service line and on the front line, as she proved to be hard to defend. 

Though the Hilltoppers struggled throughout much of the set, Natalie Gallegos, Sophia Salazar and Elodie Thelliez stepped up when it mattered most and closed out the first set with a 25-23 win for LAHS to put the team up 1-0 in the match. 

The second set was equally difficult for the Hilltoppers. After jumping out to a 10-7 lead, LAHS allowed Taos to get back into the set. The Tigers took the lead at 17-16 and held it all the way to a set point at 24-23. 

But the Hilltoppers did not allow adversity to get in the way of victory. The team came up with three important points in a row. Thelliez evened the score with a kill, and Salazar followed with one of her own. At set point, the Tigers were unable to return the ball after a rally, giving the Hilltoppers a hard-fought 26-24 win to go up 2-0. 

After struggling to pick up wins in the first two sets, the Hilltoppers dominated the third set. LAHS jumped out to a 14-5 lead and coasted the rest of the way to victory. Salazar dominated the set for the Hilltoppers with five kills. With a commanding 24-11 lead, Kyla Sandoval closed out the set and the match with an ace serve, giving the Hilltoppers the 3-0 win. 

This was the final regular season home game for Salazar, Sandoval, Thelliez, Gabriella Duran and Janessa Gonzales, though the team will host a game in next week’s district tournament.

LAHS improves to 11-8 overall and 6-1 in District 2-4A play. 

The team is currently ranked No. 6 in Class 4A and appears likely to earn a spot in the state tournament, which will be played Nov. 15-17 at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.