In what may have been their first-ever regular-season match, Moriarty High School’s volleyball team upended the visiting East Mountain Lady Timberwolves 3-0 (25-16, 25-6, 25-10) on March 9—and for the first time this season, fans got to watch as Covid restrictions ease.

Moriarty started the first set with a quick 1-0 lead on a commanding kill by middle hitter and blocker Evann Segura, playing in her first game of the season.

“It felt amazing, it’s been like over a year and a half since I’ve played,” Segura said.

After Moriarty built a 10-point lead, Payton Edwards hammered a kill for the game-winning point and the 1-0 advantage.

East Mountain took an early lead in the second set before an attack kill by Segura started a 6-0 run.

“It was nice to have Evann back,” Moriarty head coach Kim Bell said. “It changes up our lineup.”

Moriarty increased its lead to 16-6 when Ciara Mora took the serving duties and piloted nine service points, including three aces, to win the set and push the Lady Pintos up by two games.

East Mountain kept the score close in the early stages of the third set before the Lady Pintos produced two consecutive 5-0 runs to go up 17-7.

Moriarty increased its lead to 23-8 before East Mountain scored and acquired the serve. Libero Cassidy Summers scored an ace while serving to give East Mountain its 10th and final point.

On the next volley, Segura ended the set, and the match, with a tap-down kill. “I can’t even explain it, coming back this strong and being as confident as I was, it was very special to me,” she said.

“I think we did pretty good, we definitely need to work on communication and keep calm, but I think later in the season we’ll start meshing,” Summers said, adding, “I am literally so grateful, I really didn’t think I was gonna have a senior season and when I found out that we were actually gonna play, like, I almost started crying.”

East Mountain head coach Kasi Giovenco said her team ran out of gas because they played their season opener the night before at St. Michael’s in Santa Fe.

“We’ve never played back-to-back games, so I think it just took a toll on them from being off for so long,” Giovenco said. “We didn’t play the caliber of volleyball [against Moriarty] that we played at St. Mike’s. But overall, I’m thrilled to finally be back, I’m thrilled for the girls.”

Both coaches struggled to recall ever playing each other in a regular-season match.

Evann Segura going airborne. Photo by Ger Demarest.

“I don’t think we’ve ever played them other than [summer] tournaments,” Bell said.

“I think we’ve played in tournaments,” Giovenco said. “We might’ve played them my first year, six years ago, maybe?”

And thanks to a recent decision by the state’s Public Education Department and the New Mexico Activities Association that cleared the way for a limited number of spectators to watch the match, about 130 total fans from both schools cheered on the teams, according to Moriarty athletic director Joe Anaya.

“It was nice, it was nice to have fans here,” Bell said. “I hope it lasts.”