Lady Cats down Artesia

Clovis’ Sioban Flatow tips the ball past two Artesia defenders during the first game of their match Tuesday at Rock Staubus Gymnasium. Clovis defeated Artesia in straight sets. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

Despite the addition of talented athletes like Aimee Hilburn and Brittany Blackmon, it’s been a struggle for the Clovis High volleyball team to find its bearings this season.

The Lady Wildcats were able to stay in cruise control Tuesday night, however, dispatching Artesia 25-20, 25-14, 25-14 at Rock Staubus Gym.

Hilburn, a senior outside hitter who sat out her junior season to focus on basketball, pounded out 13 kills and helped keep the Lady Cats (7-5) comfortably in charge throughout.

“It’s taking us a while, but we’ll get there,” said Hilburn, who started for the Lady Cats during her sophomore year and helped them reach the regional round of the Class 5A playoffs. “We just need to have everyone have their game on at the same time.”

Clovis has had matches this season in which it builds a lead, then sees the opponent mount a comeback. But the Lady Bulldogs (3-10) weren’t able to seriously threaten in this one.

Artesia coach Stacy Gowen said she hopes her team makes a better showing when the teams meet Oct. 4 in Artesia.

“We struggled with serve-receive tonight,” she said. “But I can’t take anything away from Clovis; they’re a good team.
“We just have to get back in the gym and go to work.”

Kallie Waldrip scored the game’s first point for Artesia on an ace, but Hilburn followed with two kills — the second on an overpass. She then put away another ball to put Clovis in front for good at 4-3.

Hilburn’s ace made it 8-4 and the Lady Cats added three more points off her serve, two on kills by Blackmon. Artesia twice got within a point late before Clovis put together a 4-0 run to retake command.

Junior Kim Perkins delivered four consecutive aces early in the second game to open a 12-4 lead and the margin never went under five points the rest of that game. Then Hilburn’s kill and junior Cynthia Lucio’s ace got Clovis out to a quick lead in the third game and the Lady Cats steadily pulled away.

“Volleyball is a game of momentum, but you have to come back,” Hilburn said. “Just because you make a mistake, you have to shake it off.”

Clovis 3, Artesia 0
Artesia 20 14 14
Clovis 25 25 25
Individual statistics
Kills —
Artesia, Breanne Todd 7, Kayla Caldwell 2. Clovis, Aimee Hilburn 13, Siobhan Flatow 8, Brittany Blackmon 5, Janell Gallegos 3, Jasmine McDonald 3. Blocks — Artesia, Caldwell 2. Clovis, Blackmon 2. Aces — Artesia, Mikayla Montoya 3, Caldwell 2, Kallie Waltrip 2, Erin Steinback 1. Clovis, Kim Perkins 5, Cynthia Lucio 4, three tied with 1. Records — Artesia 3-10, Clovis 7-5. T — 1:02. Preliminary — Clovis ‘C’ def. Artesia JV 22-25, 25-23, 15-12.

Texico 3, Melrose 1
Texico 21 25 25 25
Melrose 25 12 12 14
Texico leaders
Kills —
Stephanie Bailey 10, Lori Richardson 10, Erika Autrey 7. Digs — Faith Martin 5. Blocks — Autrey 5. Aces — Autrey 3, Brittany Anderson 2, Bryn Mayfield 2, Sara Johnson 2. Assists — Mayfield 27. Records — Texico 7-3, Melrose 5-3. Junior varsity — Texico def. Melrose 25-20, 8-25, 15-4. Junior high — Texico def. Melrose 25-12, 25-14.