Volleyball: Toppers finish off regular season with 3-1 win at home

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By Mike Cote

On Senior Night at Griffith Gymnasium, a junior jump-started the Los Alamos Hilltopper volleyball team’s effort to finish off the 2010 District 2AAAA season undefeated.
Hilltopper Chase Ealey had six spike kills in the first set of Wednesday’s match as Los Alamos finished off its regular season with a 3-1 victory over the Capital Jaguars.
Los Alamos, which had posted five straight shutout victories heading into the final two matches of the season, dropped sets against both Española Valley Saturday and the Jaguars Wednesday.
While the sets were inconsequential, Los Alamos head coach Garry Maskaly said he thinks his team was ready simply to put the regular season to bed and get started with the postseason.
“Right now, we’re looking ahead to state,” Maskaly said. “The last two matches we haven’t played very cleanly, although (Wednesday) was better than Saturday. As we get to the district tournament, everything should start coming together a lot more.”
Despite the hiccup in the third set, Los Alamos still won handily over Capital, 25-13, 25-18, 20-25, 25-8.
The team that won the first point in each of the four sets Wednesday never relinquished its lead. While Los Alamos tried to rally in the third set, Capital had its best hitting set of the night with Rocio Archuleta and Sarah Romero’s timely offense leading the way.
Capital’s efforts were helped by a spotty Los Alamos passing game, which had been solid for the other three sets.
But Los Alamos (15-5 overall, 8-0 in 2AAAA) had little trouble keeping Capital off-balance for most of the night en route to its 14th straight victory.
Ealey, who’s been the focal point of several new wrinkles the team’s throwing into its offense heading into the playoffs, used her cross around the back of setter Savanah Romero effectively Wednesday, slamming three balls to the floor in set two and three more in set three.
Ealey’s 12 spike kills was the top total of the night, the final regular season contest at Griffith Gym for Los Alamos’ four seniors, Rachel Ehler, Sabrina Little, Brooke Romero and Oksana Tretiak. Ealey also added five block kills to her stat line.
Little finished with 11 spike kills, while Tretiak and Alicia Rendon both finished with five.
Capital (8-11 overall, 3-4 in 2AAAA) has been the toughest team in the district to predict this season. It has beaten Española Valley twice in three contests this season — one of which was a pre-district tilt — but the teams swept each other twice and the third was decided by a score of 3-2.
The Jaguars, who finish their regular season Saturday at Santa Fe, could well be the team the Hilltoppers see in the district championship contest Nov. 6. The Hilltoppers, by virtue of their regular season 2AAAA title, secured a bye until the tournament’s final round along with clinching a spot in the state Class AAAA tournament.
While 10 days off before its next action might seem like a problem for a team heading into the playoffs on a hot streak — Los Alamos hasn’t lost a match since the second week of September — might seem like an issue, Maskaly said that the team could use a break.
“I’m not worried about it,” he said. “Right now, I’m more worried about fatigue. They’ve been running hard the last month. Every day, they’ve had something to do.”