Lady Warriors best Mag in county rivalry
It had been eight days since the Lady Warriors volleyball squad had taken the court for an actual match, but there were virtually no signs of rust as they defeated the Magdalena Lady Steers in four sets at home on Tuesday night.
Aside from some mental mistakes and a few errant balls in the third set, Socorro looked mostly sharp against their inter-county rival en route to a 25-11, 25-21, (25-27), 25-16 victory.
It was a team-wide improvement compared to last week’s five-set win over East Mountain.
“It was better,” head coach Joni Mauldin said. “I’m pleased, but I just told them in the huddle I’m not satisfied yet, and (they) shouldn’t be satisfied either, and they’re not, which is good. That’s positive.”
And even though Magdalena is a young team with a new head coach and a new-look roster, Socorro needed to look sharp as the Lady Steers showed some definitive signs of talent, especially during the third set when they staved off two SHS match points and stole a 27-25 win.
“We’re evolving,” Mag first-year head coach Bryan Baca said.
The Lady Steers dropped back down to 1A play this year, so snatching a set away from a 3A team such as Socorro is good for his team, despite the loss.
“It gives us confidence,” Baca said. “Socorro is pretty good. Personally, I wouldn’t mind getting whooped up a little bit against some bigger schools to give them (MHS) confidence.”
Confidence and momentum were clearly on Socorro’s side in the first set though, as Maudie Mauldin opened the match with five straight points coming off of her serve. Socorro continued to utilize heavy service pressure throughout the first set and gave Magdalena fits in their back row. The Lady Warriors twice built leads of seven points and cruised to a 14-point first-set win.
When the Lady Steers came out hot in the second set, though, and took a quick 10-7 lead, it looked a little bit like the third set of the East Mountain match. Socorro made some avoidable errors and didn’t communicate very well, but this week it kept its poise, kept calm and reeled off four straight points to take an 11-10 lead. Five more points off Tamera Chavez’s serve extended the lead to 16-11 and forced a Magdalena time out. Whatever Bryan Baca said to his team worked as it stormed back to tie the set at 20-20, but Bryahna Baca and Ashley Pyke both notched two kills and two blocks to close out the second set at 25-21 in favor of Socorro.
The third set mirrored the third as the Lady Steers stormed to an early lead only to see Socorro rally and tie, but the end result wasn’t what the Lady Warriors were looking for.
“There shouldn’t have been much question in the third game, but we let up a little,” Joni Mauldin said.
Whether Socorro let up or not, Magdalena’s Breann Baca found her serve and dropped two set-tying aces, while Kadie Kiehne started heating up at the net. From an 11-11 lock, the teams traded points and eventually SHS earned a match point at 24-23 when Maudie Mauldin looped a soft bumper right over the top of the Magdalena block. However, Mauldin was called for a lift on the next play, and after MHS earned a set point at 26-25, Chavez returned Kiehne’s serve into the bottom of the net and Mag took the set.
That’s about when Bryahna Baca took things over.
Baca was everywhere in the fourth set, blocking, setting, digging and spiking her team to a 16-9 lead, and the eventual 25-16 match-ending victory.
The set was an important one for Socorro as it again regained its poise, played its game, communicated and basically dominated.
“Every single time we had that quick set in the middle, we had a free net,” Joni Mauldin said. “Every time.”
And the proof is in the pudding that these Lady Warriors could contend if they stick to their game plan and gradually grow as a team.
“We’ve just been working on scrimmaging each other, our plays, and we’re really connecting now,” Bryahna Baca said.
The 2-0 Socorro volleyball team will look to improve to 3-0 when it plays its first road match against West Las Vegas at 1:00 p.m. this afternoon.