The Clovis High volleyball team is state-bound.
The Lady Wildcats clinched a berth in the 12-team Class 5A state tournament Tuesday, wrapping up the District 4-5A regular-season championship with a 25-12, 17-25, 25-17, 25-12 win over Hobbs at Rock Staubus Gym.
Clovis (13-6, 3-0 district) finishes regular-season play at home against Carlsbad on Saturday, then will host the winner of a Hobbs-Carlsbad semifinal match in the district tournament championship game on Nov. 8.
Senior outside hitter Lainey Flatow had 15 kills and junior middle hitter Antiesha Brown added 10 for the Lady Cats. Clovis collected 14 aces to nine for Hobbs (9-10, 1-2), and was helped by the Lady Eagles’ 13 service errors — 12 coming in the first three games.
Junior Carissa Grummer had five aces in a 13-0 Clovis run that broke open the first game. The Lady Cats then struggled through Game 2, but pulled away late in the third game and cruised from there.
“I thought our energy was good, but we were a little mechanical with our serve-receive,” CHS coach Darrel Ray said. “That hurt us in Game 2.”
Sophomore defensive specialist Felicia Aguilar had a season-best 29 digs for the Lady Cats against an athletic Hobbs front row.
“I thought she played an excellent (match),” Ray said. “She’s been steady all season. When we’ve play teams that run a lot of offense, she’s been right around 20 (digs).”
Senior outside hitter Carlie Duncan had 10 kills and five aces for Hobbs, while junior middle blocker Diera Davis added six kills, five blocks and 12 digs.
“When we play as a team we do really well, but it’s hard to win games as individuals,” said first-year Hobbs coach Kim Fisher, whose team has lost seven of its last eight matches after an 8-3 start. “The momentum started going for Clovis. Both teams have really talented players, but we’re just trying to learn to sustain (momentum).”
Brown and Davis are second cousins, and Brown said she has fun going against the smaller-but-just-as-athletic Davis.
“It was weird,” Brown said. “She blocks me really good, but you can’t get mad.
“We kept our intensity up. We really got into the game.”
Hobbs never trailed in the second game, then overcame a 5-2 deficit to lead 14-13 in the third. But a service error gave the Lady Cats a side-out and tied the score, and Clovis finished out the match on a 7-1 run.
“We got the ball to the hitters,” Ray said of the fourth game. “We knew if we could do that, we’d win the match because we have more hitters than what they can put at the net (to stop them).”
The Lady Cats broke open a 7-5 lead with seven consecutive points in the fourth game and were never challenged.
“We knew how much we wanted this (district title),” Brown said. “We had something to play for.”