At home in the friendly surroundings of Mike Marr Gym, the Robertson Lady Cardinals played well enough to upset visiting West Las Vegas on Tuesday evening.
But the Lady Dons had other plans, and while they may have kept them secret early in each of the three sets, those plans didn’t allow for any upsets.
West, 9-4 overall and the No. 5 ranked team in Class 3A volleyball, won 25-23, 25-10, 29-27 to stay on track for a District 2-3A title.
“The girls played emotional,” said WLV head coach Mary Bustos, making her return to the venue in which she spent ample time the last several years as Robertson’s coach.
Bustos noted that her team trailed late in both the first and third game but managed to regain the necessary focus and intensity to catch up to the Lady Cards and then secure the victories.
Experience and poise were on the Lady Dons’ side, even when their attack wasn’t necessarily firing at optimum capacity.
A young Robertson team demonstrated signs of improvement. RHS worked hard enough to make two of the three games toss-ups, and the Lady Cardinals led in each of the three.
After leading most of the first game by as many as four points, Robertson was ahead 23-20 before West scored five straight to steal the win. Two of the last three points were decided on RHS errors.
RHS led 6-3 in game two, but the Lady Dons got rolling for a 16-1 run that made the outcome academic. Caelin Bustos served a couple of aces late in that run as West grabbed a 19-7 lead.
Outmuscling the Lady Cards up front, the Lady Dons went up by as much as 14-7 in game three. Then Robertson staged a 12-2 rally, going ahead on an ace by Miranda Segura that made it 17-16.
The Lady Cards secured game point at 24-22 on a Kendra Montoya kill. But they couldn’t string together consecutive points to put West away.
Brianna Hidalgo stepped up for the Lady Dons in crunch time, delivering three kills late in the set — including the match-winner for a 29-27 final.
One of just a couple of veterans in the red and white, Abbey Bradley had a solid individual effort for Robertson (3-10).
VOLLEYBALL NOTES: Eastern New Mexico turned away visiting New Mexico Highlands in a three-game sweep 25-23, 27-25, 25-19, on Tuesday night in Portales. Darian Mullen had 15 kills and 15 digs, and Dulce native Quiana Vigil started at setter, chalking up 34 assists.