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Logan repeats as 1A champion, spoils Melrose bid for 23-0

 

November 20, 2019

Ron Warnick

Melrose's Johanna Roybal, left, and Nataley Mondragon try to block the shot by Logan's Karli Webb during the Class 1A volleyball final Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

RIO RANCHO – Logan stunned top-seeded and previously unbeaten Melrose 25-16, 25-20, 25-20 in the Class 1A volleyball championship Saturday after the Lady Buffaloes mostly dominated the Lady Longhorns this season.

Melrose was hoping to notch its seventh volleyball championship and its first undefeated season since 1983. Instead, a jubilant Logan squad delivered a three-peat in state championships to its coach, Robert Young, at the Santa Ana Star Center, including a title victory over Melrose last year.

"That's a big accomplishment, three in a row," Young said. "I never dreamed I'd even win one in my career. This is amazing. It's a blessing."

It may be a hard sell to describe the victory by a second-seed as an upset. Yet Melrose (22-1) had won all four of its previous matches against the Lady Longhorns (22-4), including a trio of three-setters.

So it was clear Melrose had Logan's number – until Saturday.

"Logan played their butts off," Melrose coach Casey Jackson said. "Logan earned that one right there. They outplayed us. They were more dominant at the net, and we made a ton of errors we didn't make against them last time.

"We also had trouble getting our block going this time around. Logan did a good job playing in their system tonight, and we struggled to play at that speed."

Brette DeVaney and Nataley Mondragon led Melrose with nine kills each.

Young acknowledged his team peaked at the right time. That became apparent when the Lady Longhorns raced to leads of 16-9 in the first set, 15-11 in the second and 23-17 in the third.

"I know we got out on them early," he said. "I think we maybe knocked them back a little bit, got them to where they were pressing and got them a little out of their game. They were trying to force things. Once we got the lead, we were able to relax and were able to play our good power game of volleyball."

Logan's blocking and passing had been an Achilles' heel against Melrose, but those problems vanished Saturday.

"When we pass the ball like we did and block like we did, that opened up our hitting ... that opened up everything," he said. "And we picked up their tip hits better, too. That kind of threw them."

Jordan Hines led Logan with 14 kills and 12 blocks. Karli Webb added 12 kills and four blocks. Kambry Burns and Karlee Cantrell added five blocks each.

The obviously pumped-up Lady Longhorns, eager to surprise Melrose and quiet its raucous fans, rejoiced each of their big plays during the match.

"We brought so much more fire and intensity," Hines said. "We were hyped the whole time, we never got down on ourselves. Recently, we had a thing called short-term memory loss: If we made a mistake, blow it off your memory and worry about the next play."

The match ended on a strange note. While waiting for a serve to begin and Logan holding a 24-20 lead, a referee whistled Melrose for a violation and awarded the final point to Logan, sparking a celebration by the Lady Longhorns and widespread confusion for almost everyone else. After referees briefly conferred with Melrose coaches and players and with each other, they affirmed the match point.

Dusty Young, associate director of the New Mexico Activities Association, confirmed later it was a net violation against Melrose.

Jackson expressed befuddlement with the referee's call.

"She told me someone was in the net and gave me a number, 11, that we don't have," he said. "She told me she gave me the wrong number and then she just kind of picked somebody ... I don't know.

"But I'm still proud of my girls. We had a fantastic season. We have nothing to hang our heads about."

 
 

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