Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Cougars impressive in swing –

Clibolas Abigail Carlsen, left, flips the ball over the net while Cleveland’s Sophia Maurer (13), Lylah Moreno (15) and Sophia Bacahui (3) defend. The Cougars beat the storm in straight sets in a game from District 1-5A on Tuesday.
Adolphe Pierre-Louis / Newspaper

It sounded a little strange to Christina Norton as she spoke the words.

“Holy crap,” said the Cibola High School volleyball coach cheerfully. “We’re 13-1.”

Their Cougars, the Albuquerque Subway Masters, won their opener in District 1-5A on Tuesday night when their offensive weapons led to a three-game shoot in Cleveland.

The scores were 25-19, 25-22, 25-17.

Cibola’s hitting, tip, and serve were beneficial throughout as the fourth-placed Cougars (from MaxPreps.com) tackled fifth-placed Storm (12-4).

“We’re all so versatile,” said senior antagonist / setter Abigail Carlsen, who got a team high of 13 kills in victory. “A lot of us can play a lot of different positions. We can always change our hitter and know that our offensive and our defense will be successful with every rotation and every hitter. “

Carlsen was the best player on the floor. She was effective with both kills and tips on the net, and she threw an ace in each of the three sets.

Sophomore Janessa Leyba added nine kills, senior across Logan Smith had seven kills, and freshman hitter Jasmine Martinez added half a dozen kills. And second hitter Jennifer Lopez delivered one of the great highlight swings of the match as she flew in from the back row for a huge kill in the third set.

Norton described her duty roster in a varied and competent manner.

Cibola’s flick angles and her regular diet of tilting to break Cleveland’s blockades kept the storm struggling to get on its offensive.

“It’s hard to read what we’re doing on our side of the pitch for offense,” said sophomore Libero Makayla Martinez. “It’s hard to defend our team because anyone can do anything.”

A brief burst of solid serves from Carlsen in the middle of the first set, including their first ace, gave Cibola a slight breakup. Smith ended the set with two kills and a tip.

The pitch of Lopez and two kills and a block to the net from 6-foot student Ella Parker were crucial in the middle set during an 8-0 run that allowed the Cougars to recover from a 15-12 deficit .

Lopez fired two aces this run, including a bullet for an 18-15 edge.

The second set ended with the well-placed tip winner from Kayla Ison.

Cibola in the final set scored eight of the first 10 points, and a 6-0 run later in the set – highlighted by two kills from Jasmine Martinez and a pair of aces from Sofia Jurado – put an end to any remaining tension. Fittingly, a tip from Carlsen ended the match.

In the other 1-5A opener on Tuesday evening, Rio Rancho beat Atrisco Heritage in three sets.

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