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Wednesday, November 1, 2000

Eagles’ problems return in playoff loss

Staff Writer

LUBBOCK, Nov. 1, 2000 -- After spending the second half of their District 2-4A season trying to overcome the mistakes they made in the first half, the Pecos Eagles suffered a relapse Tuesday night and were eliminated by the Canyon Randall Raiders in the area round of the Class 4A volleyball playoffs.

Randall trailed only once in the match, and needed just over 45 minutes to end Pecos’ 2000 volleyball season with a 15-10, 15-6 victory at Lubbock Coronado High School.

Canyon, the runner-up in District 3-4A this season, brought more offensive firepower to the match than the Eagles had seen since before district play started, but Pecos was its own worst enemy Tuesday, reverting to the slow-reacting defense and bad passing that caused them to lose two of their first five district matches.

“We just weren’t getting anything going,” said Eagles’ coach Becky Granado. Canyon had to work harder in Game 1 for their points, catching the Eagles off-guard a couple of times with misdirection sets, but Granado said while Pecos had practice defending against the soft dinks over the front line the Raiders had used against Andrews, the lessons didn’t carry over into the game.

“We told them everything they were going to do and what they had to do, but they looked like they were in a daze out there,” the Eagles’ coach said, as by the end of the match Pecos was reduced to just tapping the ball back across, which set up Canyon for more spike opportunities.

“As far as that went, our passing was not there. It’s hard to run your offense when all the passes are behind the 10-foot line. Their passes were to the target, so it was much easier for them to run their offense.”

Unlike last year’s area round loss to Hereford, when the Eagles got few chances to score due to the Whitefaces’ mistakes, the Raiders gave Pecos several opporutinites to get back into the game, especially in the early going.

A couple of kills by Stephanie Robinson got Canyon out to a 4-0 lead, before the Eagles tied the game at 4-4 thanks to three straight bad hits by Meagan McCormick and a spike over the back line by Mandy Thomas. But the Eagles couldn’t get anything going on their own, and fell behind again by four points, thanks to bad kills by Alexa Marquez and Ashley Salcido, a block of Kayln Lara by Kara Cornelius and a bad relay of a serve by Christina Arenivas.

A dink over the front blockers by Julie Hamilton and a McCormick kill made it 10-4 before the Raiders ran into another streak of unforced errors. Combined with a couple of kills by Salcido, they would cut Canyon’s lead down to 12-9, but that would be as close as Pecos would get.

The Raiders broke serve and got to 14-9 on a soft tap into the net by Philly Fobbs and a bad relay by Victoria Gomez, and after one last Pecos point on a Fobbs dink, Canyon broke serve and won when Fobbs spiked it out of bounds.

Pecos’ lone lead came at 1-0 in Game 2 when Canyon’s Allison Reed dinked the ball out of bounds. But the Raiders tied it on a spike past the back line by Michelle Saenz and went ahead to stay on a kill by Robinson, and would go out to a 4-1 lead.

The play that seemed to take the last life out of Pecos was a block of Fobbs by Corneilus with the Eagles trailing by a 6-4 score. It started a 6-0 run by Randall which widened their lead to 12-4, and while Pecos did cut that to 12-6 on a couple of hits by Saenz and D’Andra Ortega, they were never able to regain their composure, and saw the Raiders end things on a couple of Thomas spikes and a bad relay by Gomez.

Despite that play, Granado said Gomez was one of the few Eagles who had a good game on Tuesday, along with Salcido.

“Ashley was placing the ball well,” Granado said, referring to a series of dinks to open spots by Salcido during the match. “That was what was keeping us in the ballgame for a while. I was also real pleased with Victoria. She had a couple of good plays of defense.”

Canyon Randall improved their season record to 26-9 and will take on San Angelo Lake View is the Region I-4A quarterfinals this coming Saturday. Lake View eliminated El Paso Burges in their area round match on Tuesday.

The Eagles ended their season in the area round of the playoffs for the fourth time in the past five seasons, and finished 2000 with a 27-9 record. They also lose most of their starters to graduation, and will have a far smaller team next season.

“We’re going to be a very different team next year,” Granado said. “I don’t see us having a lot of hitters besides Michelle. We’re really going to have to work on our vertical jumps this summer.”

Clint, the District 2-4A runner-up, also saw its season come to a close on Tuesday. The Lions were beaten by District 1-4A champ Hereford, by 15-2, 15-3 scores.

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