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Lady Cats beat Monarchs

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Somebody had to move into the middle when Clovis High senior Brittany Reed went down with a knee injury this week.

Junior outside hitter Makinzie Johnson was equal to the task.

link Staff photo: Tony Bullocks

Clovis High junior Makinzie Johnson tries to block Manzano junior Laney Polk at the net during the first set of Saturday’s District 2-6A match. Johnson finished with 15 kills in the Lady Cats’ win.

Johnson compiled a match-high 15 kills on Saturday as the Lady Wildcats rallied for a 20-25, 25-21, 25-14, 25-19 District 2-6A win over Manzano at Rock Staubus Gym.

The Lady Cats (5-6, 1-1 district) lost a close first game, won a close one in the second set and then generally dominated the Matadors (5-5, 0-2) over the final two stanzas.

Reed sustained a knee injury in practice on Wednesday and has missed the two matches since then. It’s unclear how long she might be out.

Johnson said she had a rather tough time making the adjustment in positions, but she still did quite well in the match.

“It’s really different,” she said of the switch. “It’s a lot quicker. I was nervous starting out, but I did get some confidence (as the match played out).”

Junior middle hitter Lexi Cole added 13 kills and two blocks, while junior libero Kyli Osborn posted 21 digs and setters Stevee Marez (21) and Jada Gillespie (18) combined for 39 assists overall.

Neither team led by more than two points until the Matadors strung together the final five points, getting an ace from freshman Isabella Chacon on set point.

The Lady Cats managed to win the second set, which was also tight throughout, then opened a 9-0 lead in the third with Marez on the service line and never really looked back.

“You’re supposed to perform at home no matter who you’re playing,” CHS coach Gabe Apodaca said. “It’s always good to come out and win Game 4 because Game 5s this year haven’t been good for us.”

He said Johnson did a good job of making the adjustments.

“It was big for her,” he said. “I’m real glad, because you’re going to have situations like that during a season.”

Clovis collected 12 aces in the match, including three each for Marez and senior defensive specialist Jessica Kaser.

Sophomores Samantha Gamboa and Hannah Robbs each had six kills for Manzano, whose youthful squad features five sophomores and Chacon.

The Lady Cats continue in district play on Tuesday at Santa Fe High.

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