The Toppers take to the court to host the Hope Christian Huskies Saturday afternoon in Griffith Gymnasium. Photo by John McHaleladailypost.com
Angelina Passalacqua bounces a serve into play in the second set. Photo by John McHaleladailypost.com
By MIKE COTE
Los Alamos Daily Post
In the middle of perhaps its toughest three-match stretch of the season, the Los Alamos Hilltopper
volleyball team faced the No. 1 team in Class 4A, the Hope Christian Huskies.
The Hilltoppers and the Huskies met Saturday at Griffith Gymnasium, and, although the Hilltoppers
stayed with the Huskies most of the way, the Huskies prevailed 3-1.
In that contest, three of the four sets were decided by the minimum two points. Los Alamos had chances
in both sets one and four but Hope Christian’s offensive firepower proved to be too much.
The Huskies held on through a nip-and-tuck fourth set to win 25-23, 25-16, 24-26, 25-23.
Hope features several capable hitters, but its two main offensive weapons, outside hitters Jolene
Sanchez and Emma Villapando, are formidable.
Los Alamos’ defense was mostly up to the challenge Saturday, however. Libero Bri Nieto on the back line
had a huge showing, hitting the floor to pick up numerous big hits from Hope.
Unfortunately, the Hilltoppers (12-6) spent the majority of the match playing defense and wasn’t able to
transition into its solid offensive game consistently. It struggled to put more than two or three points
together at any one time.
In a couple of spots in the fourth set, with the Hilltoppers leading by as many as five points, they had
opportunities to pull away and potentially force a fifth set, but couldn’t take advantage.
Prior to Saturday’s match, Los Alamos went to five sets, just escaping Moriarty with a district win. Then,
coming up, Los Alamos will be in Jacona Tuesday taking on the fourth-ranked Pojoaque Valley Elkettes in
another district contest.
Los Alamos did get in some good swings against the Huskies (17-2) at the net. Los Alamos was paced by
Nadia Gallegos, who had 10 spike kills, while its other middle hitter Michelle Macias finished just behind
her with 9 and outside hitter Ashley Hammond had 5.
Villalpando led all hitters with 11 spike kills – she also had 2 critical tip kills late in the fourth set that
served as change-ups that Los Alamos’ defense couldn’t cover. Sanchez had 10 spike kills.
Saturday’s match will be for sole possession of first place at the turn of the district season. Pojoaque
Valley (12-6) shut out Moriarty and Española and dropped just one set to Taos heading into Tuesday’s
Bri Nieto playing in the Libero position in the back court hitting the floor to pick up numerous big hits from the Huskies. Photo by John McHaleladailypost.com
Nadia Gallegos delivers one of her 10 spike kills for the night. Photo by John McHaleladailypost.com
The Toppers were bust all night digging the powerful spikes from the Huskies. Photo by John McHaleladailypost.com
Abi Lechel and Gallegos go up and block a spike attempt by the Huskies in the 3rd set. Photo by John McHaleladailypost.com