The Clovis Lady Wildcats are pretty sure they’ll be a part of Class 5A state competition next week at Albuquerque and Rio Rancho. The Carlsbad Cavegirls, on the other hand, don’t know their status.
That puts a premium on today’s 6:30 p.m. District 4-5A tournament championship match at Rock Staubus Gym for the Cavegirls.
Carlsbad (6-15) advanced with a 25-22, 25-22, 25-17 win at home over Hobbs on Thursday. It’s been a long time since the Cavegirls have won in Clovis, and Lady Cats coach Darrel Ray can’t remember even the last time his team has lost a set to Carlsbad at The Rock.
“I’m glad we did what we were supposed to do (during district play),” Ray said. “That way we don’t have to get on a bus.”
Not that the Lady Cats (13-7) are taking Carlsbad for granted. The Cavegirls pushed Clovis to four games last Saturday in Carlsbad, winning the first game handily and nearly taking the second.
“The first game, they did a good job of serve-receive and hitting the ball,” Ray said. “It took us a while to get into it.”
Carlsbad coach Carrie Erickson is hoping Thursday’s win gives the Cavegirls some momentum.
“We played our regular-season schedule to prepare us for district play, then we played our district season to get us ready for the playoffs,” she told the Carlsbad Current-Argus after Thursday’s win. “The playoffs are our third season, and we’re playing our best volleyball of the year right now.”
Junior libero Felicia Aguilar said the Lady Cats have to keep doing what they’ve been doing late in the season. Clovis comes in having won seven of its last nine outings.
“I think we should be OK if we play like we have been the last couple of weeks,” said Aguilar, who missed one of the recent losses, to Artesia, with the flu. “We don’t really underestimate (Carlsbad), but sometimes we fail to realize that they have nothing to lose.”
Homecourt should be a significant advantage for Clovis.
“We hope so,” Ray said. “We’ve got a few more tools to work with. We’ve got a little more offense and a little more experience (than Carlsbad).”
Aguilar said getting off to a good start is key.
“The first game is always important,” she said. “It definitely helps to have momentum on your side.”
Ray said the Lady Cats will leave for the state tournament on Wednesday. Pool play and first-round matches are scheduled for Thursday, with quarterfinals and semifinals on Friday and the championship match at 6 p.m. on Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.
Meantime, the Portales Lady Rams entertain Lovington in the District 4-3A final at 7 p.m. today. Lovington advanced with a five-set win on Thursday over Ruidoso.