Clovis volleyball coach Darrel Ray doesn’t know if the flu will sideline senior libero Felicia Aguilar for a night or a week.
If Thursday was any indication, the Lady Wildcats hope it’s a night.
With the shorthanded Lady Cats out of sync, visiting Artesia never let up, holding off late runs in the first two games and rallying back in the third for a 25-23, 25-14, 26-24 sweep at Rock Staubus Gym.
Sophomores Hannah Ballew and Jenna Elkins combined for 19 kills to dispatch Clovis (12-7) in the non-district affair, and Shelby Burnett served Artesia (15-5) to a 4-0 match-ending run as Clovis never finished off game point in the third set.
“We have good leadership,” Artesia coach Stacy Gowen said. “Shelby Burnett went back there and served strong to push us through. They didn’t panic.”
In a district break for both teams — Artesia opens the 4-4A tournament Tuesday against Roswell High, while Clovis visits Carlsbad Saturday in both teams’ final regular-season outing — the visiting Lady Bulldogs avenged a five-set loss to Clovis on Oct. 6 and snapped a four-match Clovis winning streak.
“We were nothing at all like we have been for the last month,” Ray said. “Our serve-receive was off, and we made a good team look like a bunch of All-Americans.”
Ray said flu season is unpredictable, so he’s not sure how long the squad will be without Aguilar. But if she was going to miss one match, this was the one to miss.
“She’s our cheerleader, she’s our captain, she handles the ball about 75 percent of the time,” he said. “We didn’t handle (her absence) well.”
Anteisha Brown had 12 kills and two blocks to lead Clovis, while Carissa Grummer had 28 assists. Playing libero in Aguilar’s place, Kendra Gibbons finished with nine digs.
Clovis defeated Artesia in the junior varsity preliminary 25-6, 24-26, 15-7.