Moriarty High’s auxiliary gym echoed with the sounds of serves, digs, kills, and even a little cheering from a limited number of fans on July 23 and 24 with the return of the school’s summer volleyball tournament.

It was Moriarty’s first summer volleyball tournament since 2019. The summer tournaments had been an annual event for the past decade until getting shelved last year by Covid-19.

Eight high school teams—including host Moriarty, East Mountain and Estancia—played for two days in a winners-consolation bracket format. Each match was a best-of-three games format.

Moriarty head coach Kim Bell said she wasn’t sure the school would even be able to bring the tournament back this summer, but she said there were a lot of positive attitudes and a lot of good games played between good teams.

“I think it was good to get this in and play, and the kids did a good job,” Bell said, adding, “It’s great to be back and be able to host something, and anticipating a full, real, fall season.”

Last fall’s volleyball season was moved to March of this year and crammed into one month. Moriarty played 13 matches between March 2 and March 27.

“And now we’re back at it,” Bell said, noting that the kids are excited to be back on the court.

“It was fun, I love just being out here and actually being able to play,” Moriarty senior Payton Edwards said after the Lady Pintos’ final match of the tournament: a win over Estancia.

Moriarty, Estancia, and East Mountain lost their first-round matches on Friday. The Lady Pintos dropped two of three games to Logan, the Lady Bears lost in two sets to Laguna-Acoma, and the Lady Timberwolves lost in two sets to Santa Fe’s St. Michael’s.

Those first-round losses bumped the Pintos, Bears, and T’Wolves to the consolation side of the bracket, setting up matchups with each other on Saturday.

Estancia started the second day by taking two sets out of three against East Mountain—edging the Lady T’Wolves 25-23 in the first set and winning the decisive third set 15-5; East Mountain won the second set 25-18.

At the same time on the other court, Moriarty got past Laguna-Acoma in two sets, 25-11 and 25-18.

Moriarty and Estancia then faced off and the Lady Pintos won in two games: 25-22 and 25-7.

Estancia’s head coach, Alicia Pope, who was the Lady Bears’ head coach a few years ago and has returned after the departure of Glenda Noblitt, said the first day was “a little rough,” but the team pulled it together on Saturday.

“They passed well, they communicated well, and they rocked it,” Pope said of the Lady Bears’ performance on the second day of the tournament. “I think this was good for us to get out here and see who can do what. All in all, it was a good weekend, good competition, we learned a lot.”

After falling to Estancia, East Mountain finished the tournament with a loss in two sets to Laguna-Acoma (19-25, 15-25).

But T’Wolves head coach Kasi Giovenco said it was good just to see the girls play together again.

“It was nice, they had fun and I think that’s more or less what we try to get out of the summer tournaments, is that they have fun and get their hands back on the ball,” Giovenco said.

“It was very fun, a little tiring, but really fun,” East Mountain sophomore Shandi Gonzalez said. “Playing softball didn’t keep me in volleyball shape.”

With the win over Estancia, Moriarty won the consolation side of the bracket and finished fifth overall in the tournament.

Despite missing some of her returning varsity starters, Bell said she was encouraged with the dynamics and how her other players performed.

“I thought we did really well,” Bell said. “It gives us a chance to see other kids, what they can do and where they’re at, and that’s kind of the purpose of summer stuff.”