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Wiley’s Grace White pushes the ball over the net in recent Class 1A action.
Nita Walls

No. 9 McClave Moves into First Place in High Plains League

By Administrator

September 21, 2022

A major development took place in the High Plains League volleyball race last week.

In a clash of state-ranked teams, No. 9 McClave stunned No. 7 Kit Carson in a three-game set by the scores of 25-23, 25-19, and 28-26 in Class 1A action on Tuesday, Sept. 13 in McClave.

The monumental victory for the Lady Cardinals snapped a 17-match losing streak against Kit Carson since 2011. McClave’s last win against the Lady Wildcats was a 3-2 decision back in 2010. Kit Carson leads the series with McClave, 8-22, since 2007.

Tuesday’s loss ended an eight-match win streak for Kit Carson (0-1 and 8-2).

With the win, McClave improved to 2-0 in league play and 5-0 to become the sole leader in the conference.

“It was a big win for us,” proclaimed McClave head coach ML Steinbrunn. “Our girls have been preparing for this match and knew that they had to be in the right mind space to accomplish the task. Kit Carson is and always has been a dominant force in our league. They are a great team with strong hitters, so we knew we were in for a battle.”

“In the past, we were intimidated by the Wildcats. This year we talked a lot about being confident in our abilities individually and as a team,” continued Steinbrunn. “We can do anything, as long as we do it as a team. On Tuesday night, our girls refused to crumble. They refused to be intimated. They got out on the floor and just had fun with the game, and it was great to be a part of.”

Several young players for the Lady Cardinals came ready to play.

Abrielle Gomez, a talented freshman, attacked the net for 14 kills, 8 blocks, and added 26 digs in the backrow.

McKayla Kiniston, a strong junior hitter, added 10 kills, 9 blocks, and 30 digs.

Mariah Enciso, a senior, had a big match as she added 5 kills and 3 blocks.

Ashlynn Steinbrunn, another solid freshman, had 7 kills and 26 digs.

Makayla Phillips, a sophomore setter, had 35 assists.

Kennedy Vallejos, a senior who got off to a late start to the season with an injury, added 11 digs.

For Kit Carson, senior Kenzie Waggoner had 16 kills. She is the No. 1 hitter in kills in Class 1A and the second overall kill leader in the state in all classifications.

“We have a talented bunch of athletes with lots of chemistry and game IQ and that goes a long way on the court,” lauded Steinbrunn. “All of our hitters stepped up and were aggressive on the net. In the back row, our coverage did a tremendous job of digging the ball. Kit Carson has some strong servers and we were able to rely on our serve receive to handle the ball, which was great. We tried hard to match up our athletes with theirs for the best advantageous rotation for us so we could utilize our hitters, and it worked well for us. They played as a unit and worked well together which is key for us.”

McClave was back on the court on Thursday when they hosted South Baca in a non-league match and posted a three-set victory by the score of 25-4, 25-5, and 25-11.

It marked the fourth straight match that the Lady Cardinals had won in three sets.

Gomez led the attack at the net with 11 kills. Kiniston followed with 8 kills, Steinbrunn 5, Enciso 5, and Phillips with 2.

Phillips finished with 25 assists.

The Cardinals had 16 ace serves in the match. Gomez, Phillips, and Kierra Coen all with 3 each and Kiniston and Enciso both had 2 ace serves.

On defense, Steinbrunn had 13 digs, Gomez 9, Kiniston 7, Phillips 6, Enciso 6, and Coen with 4.

This week, McClave (6-0) will host a league match with Cheraw (6-3) on Tuesday, Sept. 20. The Cardinals will then entertain a non-league match against Class 2A Crowley County at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Note: The Lady Cardinals (6-0) are one of only four remaining unbeaten teams in the classification. No. 1 Merino is 9-0; No. 3 Dove Creek is 12-0; and No. 5 La Veta is 11-0.

No. 6 state-ranked Wiley and Springfield both pick up 3-0 victories to remain tied atop the Arkansas Valley standings.

Wiley took care of South Baca (25-11, 25-10, and 25-9) to claim its seventh straight win.

Springfield (3-0 and 5-1) swept Walsh 25-20, 25-17, 25-9.

The two league leaders will square off against each other in just over two weeks when Wiley will host the Lady Longhorns on Friday, Sept. 30.

This week, Wiley (9-1) will play just one match when they travel to face Kim/Branson (3-6) for a league match on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

The Granada Lady Bobcats had one non-league match last week at Walsh where they lost a five-set match.

Granada won the first two games 25-22 and 25-17 before the wheels fell off.

Walsh rallied to win the next three sets 25-21, 27-25 and 15-9.

Walsh improved to 2-4 and Granada dropped to 2-2 on the season.

Granada has two matches this week. The Lady Bobcats host Bethune at 4 o’clock on Thursday, Sept. 22 and then will entertain the Cheyenne Wells Tigers on Friday, Sept. 23 at 4 o’clock.

IN CLASS 2A, Holly suffered a pair of three-set losses to Swallows Charter Academy (25-15, 25-20, 25-17) and to No. 4 state-ranked Rye (25-11, 25-19, 25-7) in Santa Fe League action last week.

Rye sits in first place in the league with an 8-2 record.

Holly (1-6) will play a non-league match at Springfield (6-1) on Tuesday, Sept. 20 before they face another non-league match at McClave on Sept. 27.

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