Volleyball: Toppers fall at Pojoaque, 3-0

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By Mike Cote

Despite a clean sweep at the hands of the Pojoaque Elks Saturday, the Los Alamos Hilltopper volleyball team saw some good things at Jacona Gymnasium.

Los Alamos fell to Pojoaque, a former District 2AAA foe and a possible contender for the AAA title this season, 25-18, 25-23, 25-20. However, the Hilltoppers had as good a defensive showing as they did against St. Pius X Wednesday, maybe better.

“We did some good things (Saturday),” Los Alamos head coach Diana Stokes said. “We were digging the ball really well. Each of the girls had some really good digs.”

Additionally, the team was able to put up some better offensive numbers than it had against the Sartans in their opener — Los Alamos dropped the first two sets to the Sartans but bounced back to win the next two before losing a close fifth set — with its top four hitters combining for 21 kills.

Taylor Ealey got rolling Saturday, picking up 10 kills, while Sabrina Little added five and Alexandra Nichols and Oksana Tretiak chipped in three apiece.

Setter Jessica Stokes gave good support to the offense Saturday, handing out 19 assists.

The defense, meanwhile may have even faced a tougher challenge against Pojoaque than it did against St. Pius.

“Pojoaque showed no mercy,” Stokes said. “They were swinging away all night. They don’t have as good of a middle game as St. Pius, but they have more hitters.”

Los Alamos had its best showing in game two, coming back from a big early deficit and going down 19-9 at one point before getting on a roll and clawing back into the contest.

Ealey and Tretiak came up big at the net down the stretch, earning three block kills to pace the defense effort on the front line. Nichols, Nicole Moore and Molly Willms made solid plays upfront as well.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Hilltoppers (0-2) anytime soon.

After a trip to Albuquerque Academy — a team that Stokes said is very evenly matched with the Hilltoppers but that got the better of the ‘Toppers during summer camp matches — Los Alamos will take part in the Moriarty Invitational, which usually attracts solid competition.

Los Alamos plays Academy Thursday before the start of the Moriarty tournament Friday.