By George Morse
The Peñasco High School volleyball team refused to surrender and made a run during the Class 2A championship at the Laguna Burger State volleyball championships Nov. 14-Nov. 16 at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.
Peñasco entered the championships on a roll after knocking off previously-unbeaten Coronado High School 25-23, 25-22, 22-25, 25-7 in the District 5-2A championship game Nov. 7 at Coronado. The victory likely earned the Lady Panthers their ninth-seed in the Class 2A state volleyball tournament.
Peñasco did not get off to a good start at state. The Lady Panthers lost 3-2 to Monte del Sol Charter School Nov. 14 in the opening round of the tournament. That moved Peñasco into the Contenders bracket of the double-elimination tournament. They faced Eunice High School early in the morning Nov. 15 having to win to stay alive.
Peñasco rallied to defeat the Lady Cardinals 3-2 to advance in the tournament. They faced Magdalena High School later in the day Nov.15 in the Contenders bracket. The Panthers rolled over the Lady Steers 3-0 to advance to finals of the Contenders bracket Nov. 16 against Mescalero Apache High School.
“I have six seniors,” Peñasco Coach Maxine Abeyta said of the big win over Magdalena. “For them, every game is do or die. They give 100-percent and leave it all out there. They’re playing as a team and not getting upset with each other.”
The Panthers have six team members who also ran on Peñasco’s cross country team, which took third place at the Class 2A cross country championships Nov. 9 at nearby Rio Rancho High School. This week, they could concentrate on volleyball.
“I have fresh legs,” Coach Abeyta said.
The Panthers nearly pulled off an upset over the third-seeded Mescalero Apache High School Lady Chiefs. Peñasco won the first two sets 25-13, 25-22 to take a 2-0 lead. Peñasco was one set away from advancing to the state semifinals.
Mescalero came storming back, winning the next three sets 25-17, 25-20, 15-10 to end Peñasco’s inspiring run at state.
The Panthers may have seen their volleyball season end, but many of the Peñasco players aren’t done with sports just yet. They will now lace up their sneakers and take the court as members of the Panthers girls basketball team.
Other local high schools that advanced to the State volleyball championships played their hearts out, but were eliminated on the second day (Nov. 15) of the championships.
In Class 4A, Pojoaque Valley High School lost to District 2-4A rival Los Alamos High School 3-1 Nov. 14 in the opening round. The Elkettes lost to Hope Christian High School 3-0 in the Contenders bracket Nov. 15 and were eliminated from the state championships.
Los Alamos advanced in the Winners bracket of the state tournament. They were defeated 3-0 by Goddard High School of Roswell Nov. 14 and dropped into the Contenders Bracket. Silver High School beat Los Alamos 3-1 Nov. 15 to eliminate the Lady Hilltoppers.
In Class 2A, Coronado High School lost to Magdalena 3-2 Nov. 14 in the opening round. In the Contenders bracket, the Lady Leopards lost to Pecos High School 3-0 Nov. 15 and were eliminated from the tournament.
In Class 3A, Santa Fe Indian School lost to Laguna-Acoma High School 3-0 Nov. 14 in the opening round. In the Contenders bracket, the Lady Braves were defeated by Sandia Prep School 3-0 Nov. 15 and were eliminated from the tournament.
State championship match results from Nov. 16 at the Santa Ana Star Center:
In Class A, Logan High School defeated Melrose High School 3-0 in the championship match.
In Class 2A, Texico High School defeated Mescalero Apache High School 3-2 in the championship match.
In Class 3A, Robertson High School defeated St. Michael’s High School 3-2 in the championship match
In Class 4A, St. Pius X High School defeated Albuquerque Academy 3-0 in the championship match.
In Class 5A, La Cueva High School defeated Centennial High School 3-0 in the championship match.