Volleyball: Toppers sweep, earn district crown

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By The Staff

The Los Alamos Hilltopper volleyball team clinched its third straight District 2AAAA title and a postseason berth by sweeping the Santa Fe Demons Wednesday night.
Los Alamos started out slow in the first set of Wednesday’s match, played at Griffith Gymnasium, but bounced back to win 25-21. It took the next two sets by counts of 25-15.
With the regular season district title and a No. 1 seed in the upcoming 2AAAA tournament secure, the Hilltoppers can now turn at least one eye toward the upcoming Class AAAA playoffs, which are scheduled to get going Nov. 11.
Los Alamos, the hottest team in the classification right now, could well be among the top-seeded teams in the tournament, pending the outcome of its last two regular season matches and the district tournament championship match, which it will host Nov. 6, but there’s no guarantee that even with all its recent success things will keep going the team’s way indefinitely.
“Everybody can be beaten in AAAA and that includes us,” Hilltopper head coach Garry Maskaly said. “We’ve got to keep working hard and not let up.”
For the moment, however, the Hilltoppers are keeping right on rolling.
Wednesday, Los Alamos came back from an 18-13 deficit in the first set, battling back with outside hitter Sabrina Little serving to tie the score and eventually take the opener.
The team’s service-receive struggled in the opening set, but the defense made quick adjustments to quell a Santa Fe service run and get back to even.
Chase Ealey and Alicia Rendon both finished with 11 spike kills against the Demons (11-8 overall, 3-3 in 2AAAA), while Little finished with 10 and Oksana Tretiak chipped in seven more.
For the Demons, Camille Romero was again the focus of their offense. While Maskaly said Los Alamos didn’t post many blocks on Romero, who has one of the most ferocious swings in the district, the defense, again anchored by sophomore libero Danielle Oritz, was solid throughout the contest.
A tough defense and well-balanced offense have been the keys to Los Alamos’ impressive winning streak, which now stands at 12. Los Alamos (13-5 overall, 6-0 in 2AAAA) has won nine of those 12 straight victories by way of shutout and has won 17 straight sets.
“I’m really happy with how we turned it around,” Maskaly said talking about his team’s win streak after going 1-5 in its first six contests. “Those first losses helped us in some ways, not in terms of seeding, but they helped us step it up.”
Los Alamos will finish up its regular season with a road contest at Española Valley Saturday, then play   a wildly unpredictable Capital  in its season finale Oct. 27 at home.