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Prep volleyball: Wolverine run continues

Sweep over Dulce makes it five-straight titles, 11 in last 13 seasons

 

November 18, 2018

Micah Thompson

The Texico Wolverines celebrate their fifth-consecutive state volleyball championship Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho. Texico, seeded second in Class 2A, defeated No. 5 Dulce in straight sets.

RIO RANCHO — There’s a reason Texico wins title after title after title when state volleyball time comes.

It’s that the Wolverines never emphasize winning title after title after title.

Their latest conquest came Saturday in Class 2A, as the Wolverines made quick work of Dulce 25-18, 25-22, 25-12 to finish the year 19-5 and win a fifth-straight championship at the Santa Ana Star Center.

That’s now 11 in the last 13 seasons, with the current streak and their six consecutive from 2006 to 2011.

“I say to a number of people that ask me about the “peat,” we don’t emphasize that,” said Texico coach Kristen Scanlan, who’s coached the Wolverines’ last 10 title winners over 12 seasons. “We go on a journey with the girls we love. If we wind up in a title match, that’s great. The goal wasn’t the five-peat; at least it wasn’t the stated goal. They don’t feel as much pressure as if we were always talking about that peat.”

Texico closed out the season with 13-straight victories, with only three of them going past the minimum three games. After sweeping through the District 7-2A season, Texico captured its pool play as the second seed and dispatched Desert Academy in three and district rival Pecos in four to reach the final.

They just weren’t met there by top-seeded Mesilla Valley. Instead, it was ultimate darkhorse Dulce winning the semifinal in five games.

“It was quite impressive,” Scanlan said of fifth-seeded Dulce, which clinched its first state championship appearance with the upset. “Dulce battled and battled. We came in a little apprehensive about (Caitlin Duncan and Jaelyn Reval), who are both great hitters. Their setter did a great job running the offense.”

But a deep Texico team was in no mood to let Dulce end with a Cinderella story. The Hawks (21-4) had, until Friday afternoon, never been past the state quarterfinal round.

“It was definitely to our advantage, being there before,” Scanlan said. “We have three kids on the floor who have experienced that game. It was a big advantage.”

Junior Riley Thompson (11) and Kaitlyn Roderick (9) accounted for 20 kills in Saturday’s title match, part of a three-match run where they combined for 73 kills.

“It’s been huge,” Scanlan said of having consistent hitting all year. “It’s so hard to defend the middle, especially for a small school. They’ve played outstanding all year. We’ve jumped on their backs and ridden them. Shabry (Boone) and Rachel (Phipps) have come on throughout the year, and they were big today.

“We got great offensive hitting from Rachel, as well as running the offense and setting. She was a difference maker. Shabry was great today; we didn’t get her until district. (Senior setter Baylee Sours) has been so consistent in leading the team, as well as Jasmine Davalos as a libero. If you’ve got a strong libero and a setter, you can do a lot. That’s how Dulce got to the title match. They’re very underrated positions and they don’t often get accolades, but when you’ve got good ones your team is going to go a long way.”

Sours had 18 assists Saturday, and 62 for the tournament. Davalos led Texico with 57 digs on the tournament, including 26 Saturday.

Scanlan said a key to the team’s consistent success if everybody always want to be a better player Tuesday than they were Monday, and so on.

“They never think,” Scanlan said, “they’re at that point in their playing careers they can’t get better.”

 
 

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