Season comes to an end for Lady Warriors

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The Socorro Lady Warriors volleyball team traveled to Silver on Nov. 10 to take on the fourth-ranked (3A) Fighting Colts in the District 3-3A Championship and they needed a victory if they were going to receive and invitation to the 2012 state tournament.

Unfortunately for the visiting Warriors, the host Colts prevailed in three sets 25-21, 27-25, 25-20, and ended any dreams Socorro may have had of a post-season birth.

The loss dropped the Lady Warriors to 10-12 on the season and they finished 2-4 in league play.

Socorro may have only been able to steal one set over the course of three matches with Silver this season, but the effort during last Saturday’s contest fit the description of this year’s squad to a tee. “We went out there and we played hard,” Lady Warriors head coach Joni Mauldin said.

“Silver was making a lot of mistakes. They were worried,” she said. “”Our passing wasn’t the best. It goes without saying that without passing, you can’t do a whole lot and it was kind of hard to capitalize on all their mistakes, but we did.”

Socorro even had a set point in the second game, but couldn’t quite pull it off. Dating back to a Nov. 8 match against Hot Springs, the Lady Warriors have had issues with their service game and some of that carried over into the district title match.

“The girls, they went out there fighting,” Mauldin said. “It was youth and inexperience that kind of did us in.”

While that youth may have been an issue for Socorro during district play, for a large chuck of the 2012 season it looked like the Lady Warriors were a veteran squad, despite having only three seniors on the roster.

They started the year off 7-3 and recorded wins over Class 4A schools Deming and Grants, and took 5A Clovis to the brink during the Zia Classic Tournament in Roswell in September.

Bryahna Baca, Maudie Mauldin and Ashley Pyke formed a formidable force at net, and the service game of Marissa Sarate and Tamera Chavez gave Socorro five players that gave opposing teams fits.

The only problem with having five solid players in the volleyball realm is that you need six on the court to be consistently effective.

Socorro lost nine of its final 12 matches even though several players were performing at top-tier levels in league play. The simple fact is that the Lady Warriors have a combination of talent and experience at for or five positions.

After that, they are still relatively talented, but inexperience becomes an issue good teams such as Silver will inevitably exploit.

“We knew we were a player or two short,” Joni Mauldin said. “I didn’t have the personnel, but they still played hard — they played well, they hustled and they played with a lot of heart.”

And Socorro did play with a ton of heart this season, but they also played with intensity and, at many times, great efficiency. When they got their short, precise passing game on track, they were difficult to stop. They simply lost a few matches they probably shouldn’t have, and that’s likely the main reason they didn’t find a spot in the state tournament.

And while they may have faltered a bit in the middle of the season, they still finished strong and met their pre-season ambition of ending up in the district title match. And for anyone who witnesses the District 3-3A championship match, Socorro gave the Colts nothing.

“They seemed to peak toward the end. We didn’t just hand it to Silver in that last match,” Mauldin said. “You see it as a three-game sweep, but if you had been there you would have seen we did not hand it to them.

“Our goal this year was to make it to that district championship and we did that. I’m happy and I’m proud of the girls. I have a satisfied feeling about this season, I really do.”