Kristen Scanlan was content being the assistant volleyball coach at Texico, so it was with some reluctance that she took over the program when longtime coach Mike Littlejohn was forced to resign at the end of last year.
Her trepidation was understandable — the Lady Wolverines were coming off back-to-back Class 2A state titles, going undefeated in winning the 2007 crown.
It didn’t exactly follow the script, but Texico made it three in a row by winning back-to-back five-setters at state over Mesilla Valley in the semifinals and Navajo Prep in the finals.
“I kind of think (it happened that way) because God has a sense of humor,” said junior outside hitter Victoria Richards after Texico erased a two-game deficit to prevail in the finals. “And he wanted to give the crowd their money’s worth.”
Texico lost only twice in 25 matches, and avenged a 3-0 regular-season loss to Mesilla Valley in the semis.
Scanlan said she knew winning the title this year would be hard work.
“We really were underdogs,” she said. “We wanted to do well and improve game-in and game-out, but I don’t know that winning a state championship was on (the players’) minds because we were so young.”
Among Texico’s key players were Richards, junior middle hitter Katlin Luscombe and two sets of twins — sophomores Fallon and Erin Scanlan, daughters of the coach, and freshmen Jaylyn and Jordyn Cooper.
Thus, it would appear the Lady Wolverines have a decent chance to make it four in a row next season.
“We’ve got a lot of talent coming back,” Kristen Scanlan said. “As long as the girls continue to buy in that we’re a team, and not play as individuals, we have a chance.”
Heading into state, the Lady Wolverines were most concerned about Mesilla Valley and Estancia, the teams which had beaten them during the regular season.
Coach Scanlan admitted she didn’t know much about Navajo Prep going in, but the Lady Eagles showed up in the finals after eliminating Estancia in five the previous day.
Navajo held on to win the first two games 26-24 and 25-22, then opened a 22-19 lead in the third before consecutive kills by Jordan Cooper, senior Jaryse Harris and Jaylyn Cooper set off a game-ending 6-1 run for Texico. The Lady Wolverines dominated the final two games.
Harris had a personal-best 23 kills in the match, while Luscombe added 14 kills and 14 digs.
“It was the best (match) we’ve ever played,” Luscombe said. “We played with our hearts instead of just our heads. We pulled together.
“At first we fell apart, and then we got together as a team and decided that it wasn’t going to end the way Navajo wanted — it was going to end the way we wanted.”
Coach Scanlan gave full credit to her players.
“It’s a tribute to the girls,” she said of the title. “They believed in themselves and they never, ever quit.
“It’s not us (coaches), it’s them.”
No. Name Pos. Yr.
1 Amber Odegaard OH Jr.
2 Shay Anderson MH Jr.
3 Jaryse Harris OH Sr.
4 Fallon Scanlan S So.
5 Erin Scanlan L So.
6 Jerrica Reid DS Sr.
7 Victoria Richards OH Jr.
8 Morgan Pinnell OH So.
9 Jordyn Cooper OH Fr.
10 Katlin Luscombe MH Jr.
11 Jaylyn Cooper MB Sr.
12 Amanda Bass OH Sr.
Head coach: Kristen Scanlan.
at Lubbock Christian W 3-1
Capitan W 3-0
at Floyd W 3-0
at Tatum W 3-1
Floyd W 3-0
Eunice W 3-0
Cloudcroft W 3-0
Animas W 3-2
Mesilla Valley L 0-3
Melrose W 3-0
Dexter W 3-0
Lovington W 3-0
Clayton W 3-0
Santa Rosa W 3-0
at Estancia L 2-3
at Tucumcari W 3-0
Tatum W 3-0
at Clayton W 3-1
Tucumcari W 3-0
at Santa Rosa W 3-0
Clayton W 3-1
Jal W 3-1
Penasco W 3-0
Mesilla Valley W 3-2
Navajo Prep W 3-2
View a photo gallery of Texico vs. Tucumcari
View a photo gallery of Texico vs. Dexter