Lady Cats’ season on line at Carlsbad in district tourney

The Lady Wildcats play at Carlsbad at 6 p.m. today.

John Eisel: CNJ sports writer

Clovis volleyball coach Darrel Ray and Carlsbad coach Doug Lynn agree the match-up between the Lady Cat offense and the Cavegirl defense will decide who’s season ends tonight.

The fourth-seed Lady Cats (5-15, 2-6 District 4-5A) face the third-seed Cavegirls (10-12, 3-5) in the first round of the District 4-5A tournament at 6 p.m. in Carlsbad. Fifth-seed Hobbs plays second-seed Cibola in the single-elimination tournament. The two winners play Thursday at the home of the highest seed.

Ray said his team needs to pass well and his outside hitters need to execute to move on.

If Lauren Berning and Roxy Luera struggle on the outside we’ll struggle too,” Ray said. “If they have a big night, we’ll win.”

On the other hand, Lynn wants his team to be sound defensively.

“We’re going to have to dominate the net with our blocking,” Lynn said, adding digging up Clovis shots is also crucial.
Clovis likes their chances against Carlsbad.

“We’re glad at the situation we’ve been put in,” Berning said.
The teams split a pair of games during the district season, with the Lady Cats sweeping the last meeting 25-19, 25-17, 25-13 on Oct. 14 at home.

The win occurred under extenuating circumstances for Carlsbad. Two of their veteran players left the team two days before the match, leaving the team scrambling to install a new offense. Two and a half weeks later, the Cavegirls aren’t scrambling anymore.

“They’re picking up the new offensive and are playing a lot more smoother than they were up in Clovis,” Lynn said.
Ray, who saw them play a few days ago, concurs.

“They’ve improved a great deal since then,” he said, and he’s told the Lady Cats likewise. “I don’t want them to assume we’ll win this one just because we swept the last one.”

Both coaches also said their team has suffered from the inconsistency that comes from being inexperienced.
“We don’t have that margin of error built in,” Ray said. “The kids have to step up and make a play, or there’s going to be a consequence.”

If they don’t step it up tonight, their consequence will be the end of the season.