By Tony A. Archuleta
The Hot Springs varsity volleyball team snapped a three-game losing streak on Thursday, Oct. 23, in a District 3-4A showdown against visiting Socorro.
After league losses to Cobre, Hatch Valley and Silver, the Tigers were anxious to get back on the winning ledger, but it took HSHS a set to get untracked before going on to win the match 3-1 (19-25, 25-7, 25-10, 25-19).
Hot Springs (11-6 overall, 2-4 district) closes out the 3-4A regular season this week, hosting Cobre (14-15, 3-3) at Tiger Gym on Tuesday, Oct. 28 (4 p.m. C-team, 5 p.m. junior varsity, and 6 p.m. varsity), and then traveling to Hatch Valley (12-7, 5-2) on Thursday, Oct. 30.
Against a young and struggling Socorro team (2-16, 0-7) Thursday at Tiger Gym, Hot Springs got off to a sluggish start, finding itself down 11-6 and prompting Tigers Head Coach Robert Haro to call a timeout.
The Tigers responded, closing the Socorro lead to 12-11, but the Warriors went on another scoring run to take a 21-17 advantage and ultimately win the set.
During the changeover of team benches between the first and second sets, the Tigers appeared unconcerned, and for good reason, as they quickly responded in the second frame by taking a 6-0 lead and never looking back.
In the third set it was more of the same, with Hot Springs taking sizeable leads of 5-1, 9-4 and 15-4.
The fourth and final set turned out to be a competitive one in the early and middle parts with the teams playing to a 7-all tie. The Tiger pushed the lead to 12-8, but the Warriors hung tough, coming within 20-18 and prompting another timeout by the home team.
Out of the timeout, the Warriors scored the next point to make it 20-19 Tigers, but an errant serve on Socorro’s part reestablished Tiger momentum. A Tiger kill and a service receiving error on the Warriors’ part made it match point for the Tigers, who quickly closed out the contest.
On Tuesday against visiting Cobre, a third place finish in the regular season was on the line. Having lost 3-1 to the Lady Indians on Oct. 9, Hot Springs will have to beat Cobre in three straight to win the tiebreaker and a right to host the quarterfinal match of the District 3-3A Tournament, which begins next week.
Silver (13-4, 6-0) is the defending District 3-3A regular season and league champion from last season, and the Colts are once again looking dominant in the new 3-4A.
Hatch Valley (12-7, 5-2) is in command of second place, with the Lady Bears’ only losses in district coming against Silver.
If the Tigers can, at a minimum, beat Cobre this week and in the district tournament, it gives the team the 13 wins that Haro predicted it will take to warrant consideration for an at-large bid to the state tournament.
If the Tigers can beat Cobre twice AND upset Hatch Valley at home later this week, it would significantly improve the team’s state tournament prospects, to say nothing of going on a winning run in the district tourney.