Teams face tests at regionals

Texico’s Lori Richardson tries to send shot past Santa Rosa’s Angela Sena earlier this season. The two teams could meet in the championship of the Class 2A Region D tournament at Sandia Prep High School on Saturday. CNJ photo: Eric Kluth

John Eisel: CNJ Sports Writer

Texico, Fort Sumner and Grady dominated during the regular season, with each team sweeping through the regular season undefeated and capturing its respective district tournament.

However, due to upsets in the championship matches of the district tournament they’re partnered with in the regional, Texico and Grady will take on a regular-season champion in the first round of Friday’s regional tournament. Teams have to win the first match of the regional to qualify for the state tournament.

District 6-2A champion Texico (18-3) faces off against Estancia (18-3) at 4 p.m. at Sandia Prep in the Class 2A Region D tournament while District 4-1A Grady (16-1) takes on Temple Baptist (12-4) at 7 p.m. in the Class 1A Region B at Menaul High School.

Estancia swept Sandia Prep in District 8-2A and Temple Baptist swept Victory Christian in District 2-1A during the season but fell at home in the tourney title game.

District 3-1A champion Fort Sumner hosts the 1A Region A tournament, drawing Cimarron (11-8) at 6 p.m. in the first round.

Texico coach Mike Littlejohn said the draw didn’t matter because Sandia would have been a tough test, too.

“Sandia Prep just played them a little bit better that night,” said Littlejohn, who scouted the match. “It was a little surprising, but Sandia Prep’s a good team too.”

Texico and Estancia split two matches during the season. Texico swept the first match by a total of seven points at home, while Estancia came back four days later to sweep the Lady Spikers by nine.

“It’s about as even as you could get,” Littlejohn said.
But Littlejohn also has confidence his team can win.
“If we pass the ball well and hit the ball well, we’ll be OK,” he said.

Win, and the Lady Spikers face the winner of a match between Santa Rosa and Sandia Prep at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Texico has gone to the state tournament three of the last four years, winning state in 2001.

By winning the District 3-1A tournament, the Vixens earned the right to host a regional tournament. Vixens coach Lisa McMath said she is happy about it because her team is more comfortable playing in front of the home crowd.
McMath said her team needs to pass successfully to advance.

“If we can pass well we make things happen,” she said. “We can hit out of three positions and that helps.”

The Vixens have made the state tournament the past four years, winning the Class 2A state title in 2000 and never finishing below third.

The winner takes on the winner of a matchup between Elida and Des Moines at 7 p.m. Saturday.

After not qualifying for regionals since the current players were in junior high, Grady rolled through the competition under new coach Missi Glover.

However, Glover said she’s not worried about her team never having regionals before.

“They’ve been there in basketball and know what to expect,” she said.

The winner of Temple Baptist and Grady winner plays the winner of Victory Christian and Logan winner at 1 p.m. Saturday.