Seven matches into their schedule and the Tigers varsity volleyball has already exceeded last year’s season wins total. With their record so far sitting at 3-4, this is admittedly not a high bar. But with nearly two thirds of their season still to go, the team is showing long strides in improvement.
This year, even the losses, reflect the progress that is testament to the hard work these Tigers have put in. Last year at this point, seven matches in against mostly the same opponents, the Tigers had played 29 sets, and in their two wins, both took five sets. This year, in 26 sets, their wins are far more efficient, with none going the distance and one being a three-set sweep. Small steps perhaps, but significant ones, and they are not the only sign of this team’s rise to respectability.
The first of the Tigers last two outings on the road was Thursday, September 12 in Magdalena the Tigers went into their house looking to take care of business, and they did. The first three sets were epic battles between two teams determined not to give an inch or a point and not to lose. Those three sets went down to the wire, each ending with the score at 25-23, with only one difference. It was the Tigers on the wining end of two of them. The fourth and as it turned out, the final set, it wasn’t even close. It was all Tigers all the way. Tigers took that set 25-16 ad with it the match.
With details from this road vic- tory a little sketchy, there were some statistics that show the level these Tigers are capable of achieving. On offense, four Tigers earned high numbers. Two were
in double figures in kills, Carina Apodaca with 16 and Logan Woods with 12. Not far behind were Taylor Hearn and Johanna Chapman with eight each. It Apodaca and Woods leading the way in attacks with 55 and 42 respectively. Angel Garcia wasn’t far from that mark, attacking 38 times. There was great Tiger efficiency in serving as well, with serves to errors sitting at over 93 percent. Hearn and Woods led the way here, each with 19 serves against only two errors. Middle blocker Emily Sheele, served up ten times without an error, also contributing on defense with 16 digs without an error. Rounding out the offense was the team’s starting setter, Taylor Hearn was credited with a remarkable 42 of the teams 45 assists, without an error.
On defense the Tiger’s libero, Ali Wasilowski, earned 30 digs without error. Hearn added in 14 more, with Kelsie Paul also in double figures with 11 digs. The team received 75 serves and committed only three errors in that column.
All in all, this is a very different team from last year, or the last several years. They compete with an intensity and a team camaraderie and spirit, shouting out encouragement to each other and communicating on the court in the way that great teams do.
The Lordsburg match on Tuesday was a slip, with athletes, substitutions and rotations appearing a little out of sync. The results showed, with the Tigers falling in a rare three set sweep, 25-18, 25-20 and 25-17.
The chance to get back on course comes almost immediately for a team with a crowded schedule. As we go to press, they are defending the Den against visiting 4A Chaparral, a team that has a 6-5 record coming into the Tiger Den, and mostly against 5A teams. After that, our Tigers hit the road again for a rematch and a chance for some paybacks down at Mesilla Valley. The Saturday, September 21 match has been pushed back a couple hours, with the JV starting at 12:30 p.m. and the varsity following at around 2. Let’s send a strong Tiger contingent down to support these Tigers.