Robertson put up perhaps its best fight of the season at the right time — the District 2-3A volleyball tournament.
West Las Vegas was ready.
The host Lady Dons (14-7)took a 3-1 victory on Wednesday night, advancing to a semifinal Friday evening in Raton. At stake in that match is a trip to the tournament championship against perennial state volleyball power Pojoaque Valley on Saturday night in Jacona.
Raton slipped past West to take the No. 2 seed in the tourney, aided by a 3-1 win Oct. 25. Other than that, the Lady Dons have matched up well with the Lady Tigers.
Pojoaque is another story. The Elkettes, ranked second in Class 3A behind only Hope Christian, swept West in both regular-season meetings as part of a 15-5, 8-0 resumé in 2012. Pojoaque, incidentally, is the team that ended West’s state tournament run last fall.
On Wednesday, it was crosstown rival Robertson that hoped to knock off the Lady Dons.
The Lady Cardinals, who’d eliminated Taos in Monday night’s tournament opener, had a decent start. Successful attacks by Kendra Montoya and Alicia Arguello, along with a block and a dink by Abbey Bradley, had RHS ahead 8-5 in game one.
Caelin Bustos’ kill, followed by a couple of Robertson errors and a ferocious attack by Anna Finck, turned things in West’s favor, a 5-0 spurt.
Robertson regained the lead at 11-10 after a block by Arguello and Rachele Portillo. West’s Maya Roybal answered with a block of her own. Moments later, Briana Hidalgo sliced a kill to set up a Deanna Bustos ace off Erica Herrera, starting another 5-0 run that left the home team ahead 16-12.
Montoya had a couple of kills to stave off game point, but West won 25-19 after the Lady Cards misplayed a ball hit off the ceiling at Gillie Lopez Gym.
Miranda Segura had an ace and a serve error and Deanna Bustos did the same to open game two. After that, Hidalgo had a crafty over-set kill to give the Lady Dons a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Bradley nailed a kill, and then Arguello ended a volley with a block to pull RHS within 6-4.
But West reeled off seven straight points, with Faith Romero winning a net battle, Romero joining with Caelin Bustos for a block, and Finck firing a kill for a 13-4 spread.
At last, Robertson’s Hannah Lopez ended the run with a successful attack.
Roybal, Finck and Hidalgo each connected to pad West’s lead to 20-12, and the Lady Dons ended up winning 25-20.
Nine ties and half a dozen lead changes were part of the drama in game three. Kills by Arguello and Montoya helped shift control for the last time in Robertson’s favor, and an Olivia Maes block made it 12-8 RHS.
After a Maes slam made it 18-9, West went on a bit of a run. Two Romero kills, a Caelin Bustos tip, and Finck’s successful net clash with Bradley helped West tie the game at 20-20.
But Lopez came through again to keep the lead for the visitors. Maes and Portillo blocked a play for a 25-22 win that got RHS on the board.
Game four was similarly close. After a Sarah Gold ace capped a 4-1 WLV head start, Robertson managed to tie it and take the lead several times. Keeping her side in plays as she has all season, Bradley won a net battle to make it 12-10 Lady Cards, but West responded with seven points in a row — two apiece credited to Hidalgo and Finck.
Later, Deanna Bustos’ dig set up a Roybal kill for a 23-16 West lead.
The Lady Dons wrapped it up with an over-pass mishandled by the visitors in a 25-19 final.
RHS finished 6-16.