Estancia High School’s volleyball team’s season ended last Friday after losing in five sets to the Dexter Lady Demons in the quarterfinal round of the Class 3A state tournament at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.
The fifth-seeded Lady Bears won two of the first three sets but then stumbled in the final two sets to fall 2-3 (19-25, 25-21, 25-23, 17-25, 11-15).
“It was just a lack of execution, hurting ourselves, making silly ball-control mistakes,” Estancia’s head coach Glenda Noblitt said.
After the No. 3 Lady Demons took the first set, Estancia captured two intense battles. Callie Larson’s hard-hitting kill gave Estancia the winning point in the second game to tie the match at one game apiece.
In the third set the Lady Bears were down 21-23 when Anita Ortiz’ kill trimmed the deficit to 1 point and gave Estancia the serve.
Marisa Luna’s three-straight serve points were topped off by Kaitlyn Calhoon’s tapper that fell to the floor untouched giving the Lady Bears a 2-1 advantage.
Dexter never trailed in the fourth set—tying the match at 2-2 and forcing a deciding fifth set. Estancia fell behind early, then took a 5-3 lead only to fall behind by 5.
Savanna Chavez’ block dropped to the floor untouched to cap a rally that tied the score 10-10 but the Lady Bears fell behind again and never recovered. Scarlett Gonzalez’ kill was Estancia’s final point of the season.
“The fourth game, we came out a little sluggish, but in the fifth game we started out good and then our momentum went down,” Chavez said. “Then we just couldn’t finish.”
Estancia advanced to the quarterfinals by taking second place in Thursday morning’s pool play, followed by a win in five sets over No. 2 Dulce later in the day.
“We played them very tight and we contained them,” Noblitt said of the Lady Bears’ win over Dulce.
Having advanced to the quarterfinals—the farthest the Lady Bears have gone since 2011—Noblitt summed up the state tournament experience by saying she has high hopes for next season.
“I’m excited for the future,” said Noblitt, who in her first year back at the helm after a hiatus piloted the Bears to a 17-6 season. “I have a lot of sophomores and freshmen who will be returning.”
Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at [email protected]