By Tony A. Archuleta
Senior leadership is a key attribute on the District 3-4A road, and Hot Springs volleyball got just that Tuesday, Oct. 7, at Socorro.
A Socorro team that has been struggling on the win-loss front nevertheless managed to play the Tigers to a 20-all tie in the first game.
And that’s when a trio of seniors – and one junior – stepped up and took control of the match.
With senior setter Maria Chavez on serve, junior middle hitter Melene Berkstresser hit a winner to score the Tigers’ 21st point and regain momentum. Following a Socorro miscue, senior left side hitter Limor Johnson scored on back-to-back kills and senior right side hitter Starlyn Treadwell hit the game winner.
The match was effectively over, as Hot Springs dominated the second and third sets to win it 3-0 (25-20, 25-7, 25-18).
Two days later on Thursday, Oct. 9, the Tigers stayed on the league road at Cobre, and despite winning the first set, the Tigers were upended by the host Lady Indians, who prevailed 3-1 (21-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-21).
In a season of breakthroughs, Hot Springs was looking to reach yet another milestone in taking down Cobre for the first time since 2010.
The Lady Indians, however, have developed a reputation, at least against HSHS, as a scrappy team that never gives up and has a penchant for digging some of the hardest hit balls the Tigers send their way.
Tigers head coach Robert Haro said his team took an 8-0 lead in winning the first set.
“Then we put it in cruise control and thought it was going to be easy, and it wasn’t,” he said. “Plus we made a lot of errors, gave up a lot of free balls.”
The Tigers were also playing without one of their top servers, junior Brianna Covarrubias, who was out with a shoulder injury.
The Tigers could not snap that particular losing trend to Cobre Thursday, and this week features a pair of opponents that have enjoyed even greater success against Hot Springs in a long stretch of seasons dating back to 2007 (Silver) and Hatch Valley (2006).
Hot Springs (10-4 overall, 1-2 district) was set to host Hatch Valley on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at Tiger Gym (4 p.m. C-team, 5 p.m. junior varsity, 6 p.m. varsity).
Hatch Valley is 7-6 on the season, with a 2-1 mark in 3-4A. Despite being the visiting team, the Lady Bears would appear to be the favorite Tuesday based on a comparison between the two teams’ recent showings against league leading Silver (10-4, 3-0).
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