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Weekend Roundup: Mora wins NRG volleyball tourney

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By Dave Kavanaugh

The Mora Rangerettes are Northern Rio Grande Volleyball Tournament champions.

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Mora defeated Dulce in four games Saturday to capture the annual gathering of much of the region’s better squads.

Playing in their second tournament in as many weeks, the Rangerettes lost the opening game in the title match but won each of the next three to clinch the trophy. Game scores were 11-25, 25-13, 27-25, 31-29.

Jacquelyn Sanchez, back in Mora as head coach, was pleased with the effort: “All of them were working together as a team. They finally worked together.”

Sanchez said all four of her seniors stepped up. They are Andrea Romero, Laura Hurtado, Desiree Pino and Angel Valencia.

Mora, which reached the final of the season-opening Springer Invite before falling, is 5-1 overall. The Rangerettes visit Robertson on Tuesday evening at Marr Gym.

• • •

Mora football slipped to 1-1 after a 29-6 defeat at another larger school — this time, Class 3A Shiprock — on Friday. The Rangers had won their season debut 56-6 at Wingate the previous week.

Mora hosts its first game (albeit 30 miles south of the MHS campus) on Thursday evening, when Magdalena comes to Perkins Stadium in Las Vegas. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

• • •

NMHU volleyball swept University of the Southwest and tournament host Oklahoma Panhandle State to open its season on the road in Goodwell, Okla.

Led by a 10-kill effort from Dominique Benton, the Cowgirls won against USW 25-16, 25-11 and 25-21 on Friday in the opener of the OPSU Spiketacular. Darian Mullen and Jazmine Harge also hit well, combining for 13 kills. Brooke Fahnestock notched 26 assists, and Shelia Olaechea had 18 digs.

Then Darian Mullen had a team-best 12 kills to lead Highlands past the host Aggies 25-22, 25-21, 26-24. Olaechea had 15 digs; Fahnestock 29 assists and Kelsey Groff and Shivaughn Hatt tallied seven kills apiece.

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They may have lost their season debut at Lovington, but the Robertson volleyball players returned to town feeling pretty good about themselves anyway.

“The girls did really well for their first game,” said Mary Bustos, RHS head coach. “Everybody did well... We were down each of the last three last games by seven to 10 points and we came back.”

Indeed, after dropping the first set 25-16, the Lady Cardinals won game two 25-22 and kept within striking distance the next two games, losing 25-23 and 26-24.

In game three, the host Lady Cats jumped to a 20-11 advantage before Robertson battled behind strong service from Shannen Lopez; the Lady Cards got within 21-20.

Kendra Montoya’s turn at the service line pumped confidence into the RHS lineup in a couple games. At one point, Montoya served for eight points in a row.

RHS led game four 24-23 and had game point but Lovington won the next three points to wrap up the match and prevent a fifth set.

“I have five players with no varsity experience,” Bustos said, “so we had a really good effort.”

Robertson (0-1) hosts Mora (5-1) on Tuesday, beginning with the junior varsity match at 5 p.m.

Notes: Robertson had originally been scheduled to open the season this past Thursday against Santa Fe Indian, but that match was postponed to Oct. 6. Also, the team has added dates with Mora Sept. 29 and Tucumcari Oct. 4.

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Robertson girls’ soccer split its last two matches to move to 2-1 overall.
The Lady Cardinals stunned Goddard 5-0 in Roswell on Thursday, the second 5-0 shutout of the season after doing it against Monte del Sol.

“We had multiple opportunities,” said Lady Cards head coach Ray Parks. “We’re just not finishing shots. But we are doing a good job setting them up. Eventually we’re going to start putting them in the back of the net.”
Katie Houdek ripped the Rockets on a long goal 45 feet away, and RHS led 1-0 at halftime. A couple halftime adjustments produced dividends, and RHS scored two quick goals — both by Houdek off assists from Elena Martinez. Ashley Jaramillo made it 4-0 on another feed by Martinez, and Jaramillo returned the favor a few minutes later, assisting Martinez.

The Robertson junior varsity, down 2-1 at half, rallied for an 8-2 win.
Robertson’s varsity enjoyed a tie score at 1-1 until midway through the second half in Saturday’s home opener against Class 5A Clovis. But a defensive breakdown and a good rebound effort by Clovis made it 2-1, and with 2:41 left, the visitors delivered the knockout blow on a top-shelf goal.

Robertson’s lone goal came on a penalty kick by Martinez some 12 minutes into the second half.

Clovis scored its first time on another key rebound effort, just seconds after Ashley Jaramillo made a diving save to turn the Wildcats away.
Jaramillo tallied 19 saves for Robertson.

The RHS JV also lost 3-1 in a matchup shortened by lightning strikes and heavy rain in the Las Vegas area. The start of the varsity match was delayed by a half hour.

• • •

Keen Martinez scored off an assist from Jalen Martinez in the 18th minute on Thursday, but that would stand as the lone Robertson goal in the boys’ soccer team’s home debut.

Visiting Ruidoso won 3-1 to send the Cardinals to an 0-2 start.
A sluggish first half — aside from the Martinez goal — led to a 1-1 stalemate at intermission.

It turned out that Ruidoso was just getting warmed up; the Warriors put up two more goals after the break.

Robertson had several forays into scoring territory but for the most part the Redbirds were held to single, contested shots.

• • •

In its season opener late Saturday, New Mexico Highlands’ women’s soccer team took No. 3 nationally ranked St. Rose to overtime before falling 2-1.

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A couple of Las Vegas-area athletes helped pace the Highlands effort in the collegiate portion of Saturday’s UNM Lobo Cross Country Invitational. Mora’s Henrique Chavez was the Cowboys’ No. 2 man behind Ismael Samano. And West Las Vegas’ Amanda Ortzow was the Cowgirls’ No. 2 behind Kristien Kaneichi. See Wednesday’s Optic for more on the meet.

• • •

Memorial Middle School football shut out visiting St. Michael’s 22-0 on Saturday morning at Cardinal Stadium.

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On day one of the U.S.  Slowpitch Softball Association Labor Day weekend tournaments in Rio Rancho, the Las Vegas Xplosion (11 and under girls) went 3-0, beating the Albuquerque VooDoo 9-1, the Lady Lions 8-1 and Sundance 10-2.