Tuesday’s opener at Rock Staubus Gym didn’t go quite the way the Clovis Lady Wildcats had hoped.
Clovis made a big run down the stretch to pull out the first game, but Roswell High rode the strong net play of senior Chantale Riddle and sophomore Shanice Steenholdt to a 15-25, 25-22, 25-15, 25-18 win.
The Lady Coyotes (2-0), who opened with a win over Ruidoso on Monday night, jumped on top quickly in all four games, but they didn’t let up in the final three after the Lady Cats roared back from a five-point deficit with a 17-2 run at the end of the first game.
Riddle, a 5-foot-11 middle blocker, finished with 17 kills and six blocks for the Lady Coyotes. The 5-10 Steenholdt added 12 kills and two blocks.
“We struggled with our passing,” Roswell High coach Bryan Masse said of the first-game collapse, in which his team made several unforced errors. “They (Lady Cats) were serving and passing well, and they negated our middle.
“The second game we did a better job of (eliminating) errors.”
Riddle took over the match with 13 of her kills coming in the final three games.
“Shanice was kind of getting blocked, but Chantale stepped up,” Masse said. “We served a little better and passed a little better (after the first game).”
Lady Cats coach Darrel Ray said his team simply made more mistakes than it could afford against a team that finished second in Class 4A in 2007.
“Unforced errors killed us tonight,” Ray said. “You can’t play a team of that level and play that poorly.”
Ray noted his team erased a nine-point deficit in the second game to take a 22-21 lead before Roswell put it away behind consecutive kills from Riddle and Steenholdt.
“We got off to a slow start, but we played well enough to win and we had a couple of bad breaks (late),” Ray said. “Had we won that game, it might have turned things around, but after that it just seemed like our game went south.
“We could not put together credible decision-making long enough to make a run.”
Roswell High broke away from a 2-2 tie early in the third game with the help of two aces by junior Jessi Hernandez, scoring five consecutive points. Hernandez had another ace early in the fourth game as the Lady Coyotes opened a 9-2 lead and were not challenged.
Senior Lainey Flatow had 13 kills for the Lady Cats, while junior middle Antiesha Brown finished with 11 kills and three blocks. Brown also had two of the team’s seven aces.