Miranda Quintana at the net against Clovis. Photo by Ger Demarest.

The Lady Pintos were in a groove during their matchup against Clovis in their final round of the Moriarty tournament, Sept. 2-3.

Having already won the first two sets, Moriarty was sitting on a 24-18 lead in the third set when Miranda Quintana returned a volley that Clovis knocked out of bounds to give the Lady Pintos the game-winning point and the match.

With the 3-0 sweep over Clovis (25-23, 25-17, 25-18) the Lady Pintos earned a third-place finish in the Silver bracket of the tournament.

Moriarty’s two-day tournament hosted 16 teams in two separate brackets—Gold and Silver—consisting of eight teams in each—with the Lady Pintos in the Silver bracket.

Moriarty picked up its first win of the season and the first victory under new head coach Michael Baguskis with an opening-round, straight-set sweep over Bernalillo (25-4, 25-11, 25-10).

“It was awesome,” Baguskis said. “The girls didn’t even realize that it was their first win for me.”

The victory moved the Lady Pintos to the winners’ side of the Silver bracket where they got swept 3-0 by Sandia Prep (25-27, 17-25, 18-25).

The Lady Pintos held leads in all three sets, including a late 22-21 lead in the first game. The score was tied 25-25 before Sandia Prep pulled ahead for the win and a 1-0 advantage.

Moriarty held early leads in both the second and third sets before Sandia Prep went on scoring bursts to secure the victory.

“We had our ups and downs and that happens, but they’re a good team and I think we played really good,” Presley Edwards said after the loss.

“There was lots of battling, that’s volleyball,” Baguskis said. “I’m very happy with the way that they were able to battle.”

The loss to Sandia Prep moved Moriarty into the matchup against Clovis to play for third place in the bracket.

The first set against Clovis was another battle. The Lady Pintos jumped out to an early lead before Clovis clawed its way back, knotting the score several times at 9-9, 14-14, and 17-17.

With Sophia Marez serving, Moriarty pushed ahead 22-17. Clovis stormed back to tie it at 23-23 before Moriarty scored twice to hold on for the win and a 1-0 advantage.

In the second set, Moriarty once again built an early lead before Clovis tied it at 12-12. The Lady Pintos held a slim 15-14 lead when they went on a 6-0 run with Quintana serving and went on to win the set for a 2-0 advantage.

Quintana was once again serving at the start of the decisive third set and she let it fly, rattling off a whopping 14 service points—a personal best—with attack kills by Marez and Aneesa Chavez at 4-0 and 10-0, respectively.

“Well, the first serve is always just to get it over and in, and then as I got points, I was like, ‘Well, I can be more aggressive,’ and then it just kept going from there,” Quintana said.

During the run, Quintana was in a zone, stretching Clovis’ setters all over the court.

Aneesa Chavez at the net against Sandia Prep. Photo by Ger Demarest.

“It got better and better as it went on and I realized I could put it in different places, hit it harder, shorter, deep, and I just kept doing that—putting it where they weren’t,” Quintana said.

Clovis finally got on the board, pulled within 10 points a few times and even went on a late 5-0 run to trim the margin to 20-14.

But this was the Lady Pintos’ game—scoring and embracing for a spirited celebration with every point right up to the end.

“Yep, it was pretty fun, it was awesome,” Chavez said. “We knew that we just had to play as a team, and we did, so that ended up helping us.”

Baguskis said he was impressed with his team’s leadership and the intensity the girls showed in the Clovis win to take third place.

“To be third in our bracket is a huge accomplishment,” Baguskis said.