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Vixens take third in Class 1A


Kayla Britain had 18 kills in Saturday's three-game win over Animas. Freedom Newspapers photo by Kevin Wilson.

ROSWELL — After seeing their Class 1A title hopes dashed by Des Moines for the second-straight year, the Fort Sumner Vixens went into the offseason with a statement.

The statement: We’ll be back.

One day after losing a five-set thriller to the eventual champion Lady Demons, Fort Sumner (22-5) took their frustrations out on Animas in a convincing 25-10, 25-17, 25-17 win Saturday afternoon at Roswell High School.

Fort Sumner never allowed more than four consecutive points to the Lady Panthers and ended the first two games with runs of 12-2 and 11-0, respectively. Kayla Britain had 18 kills and Sandy Fortner 15 for the Vixens, who had no seniors on their 2003 roster.

“We’ve got all of us coming back,” Fort Sumner coach Lisa McMath said, “so we wanted to make a statement that we’re not done.”

The Vixens spent most of Saturday’s match attacking the Lady Panthers’ back row, with setter Leslie Wood setting up Britain, Fortner and Tobea Patterson (four kills) for easy hits.

Animas coach Charles Richardson, whose team lost to Tatum in the semifinals, looked toward the 2004 season as well, playing a mix of younger players in the third game as the Vixens finished off the Lady Panthers.

“We came as far as we could,” Richardson said. “We did our best.”

While Fort Sumner returns its entire roster, Des Moines lose four seniors off the team that defeated Tatum in four games for its third-straight title.

It was little solace to Wood that the Lady Demons arguably had enough height to win in higher classifications and have won 51-straight matches — equaling a state record.

“Knowing that we were there and had the talent, that’s what hurts,” said Wood. “We’re really excited and determined now that we had to watch the championship game. That totally drove us crazy.”

Cari Dyer had eight kills to lead Animas.

Des Moines 3, Fort Sumner 2 (Friday) — A five-game semifinal came down to inches, as a service ace off the net turned the tides in favor of the Lady Demons.

In a rematch of the 2002 title match, Des Moines rallied from a 2-1 deficit and edged out Fort Sumner 16-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-16, 15-11 at Goddard High School.

With Des Moines up 13-11, a serve by Hanna Bray skipped off of the net and dropped between a trio of Vixens defenders. Bray served another ace for match point.

“Hanna Bray has been struggling with her serving this whole year,” Lady Demons coach Joey Montoya said. “In regionals and at state, her serving has been exceptional.”

Bray’s aces capped off a huge comeback for Des Moines, which trailed after Fort Sumner jumped out to a 9-1 first game lead and barely ever let up.

After exchanging 25-23 victories in the next two games, Des Moines forced the issue. A 10-0 surge by the Lady Demons broke a 5-5 tie and helped force the decisive fifth game.

Neither team was able to pull away in the fifth game, which featured five ties and three lead changes.

“They did not go away,” Montoya said of the Vixens. “I give all the credit to their players. I give all the credit to their coaches.”

It was a game of inches in another way. The Lady Demons got a match-high 16 kills from 5-foot-10 Annie Kennedy and 12 from 6-foot-2 Kelli Goodan. Fort Sumner, meanwhile, had nobody taller than 5-foot-9.


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