New Mexico Junior College freshman Kendra McRuffin jumps up to send an attack toward the Midland side of the court Wednesday night during the Lady Thunderbirds first ever home volleyball game in Caster Activity Center.
Lady Thunderbirds drop volleyball home opener
JASON FARMER NEWS-SUN
September 12, 2019
Thirteen games into its inaugural volleyball season, the New Mexico Junior College Lady Thunderbirds finally played its first home match Wednesday night. Unfortunately the outcome wasn't what NMJC head coach Alexandra Hocky had hoped for as the Lady T-Birds lost 3-0 to Midland College.
"It was nice to get to open up at home and get that underneath our belts," Hocky said. "Definitely hoped for a different outcome, but we are learning from our mistakes and hopefully the next one will be better."
With the loss, NMJC falls to 4-10 on the season and starts Western Junior College Athletic Conference at 0-1.
Hocky was pleased about one thing though, the crowd. For its first ever home volleyball game, Caster Activity Center was packed.
"It was very exciting to see all the support," the Lady T-Birds' coach said. "We knew it was either going to be a lot of support, or no support, so we are definitely happy to see that people are supporting us here."
The Lady T-Birds fell behind early in the opening set as Midland opened up a 10-3 lead to get things going. NMJC didn't let the early hole affect its play though as the Lady T-Birds battled throughout the game. Late in the set NMJC made a move and eventually knotted the set at 22-all. However, NMJC was unable to take a lead and went on to drop the set 25-22.
The second set was similar to the first, though NMJC didn't fall behind by as much as early on. Midland had its largest lead over NMJC at 15-10, but like the first set, NMJC battled back.
Trailing 21-16, the Lady T-Birds won a point and got the serve. After picking up a pair of points behind the service of Kristine Teivane, NMJC trailed 21-18. The Lady T-Birds then tied the set at 21-all as Teivane recorded three straight aces.
The Lady T-Birds were unable to take the lead though as Midland won the next point. NMJC re-tied the set at 22-22, but went on to lose 25-23.
"Volleyball is a game about rhythm and momentum," Hocky said. "We finally were starting to find it, then we would lose it after a couple of mental mistakes."
In the final set, NMJC got its first lead of the night. Midland won the set's first point, but NMJC took the next two to take a 2-1 lead. NMJC pushed it to 4-2, the largest lead it would hold all night.
"I wish we would have kept it," Hocky joked about her team finally getting a lead in the third set. "The third set, unfortunately, we just couldn't come back from our mental errors. It was just mental errors that cost us that game."
Midland countered with an 8-0 run to take a 10-4 lead. From there things just fell apart for NMJC. Midland pushed its lead to 22-11 before the Lady T-Birds attempted a late rally. With Midland in front 24-14, the Lady T-Birds scored four consecutive points before falling 25-18.
"That is what I do really like about this team, the score kind of means nothing to us," Hocky said. "We just kind of keep going until the ref blows his whistle."
Teivane finished the night with five aces, seven digs, and eight kills for the Lady T-Birds. Andrea Spasojevic had two aces, eight digs, and nine kills. Kennedy McRuffin had six digs while Taishlennie Rolon had five. Valeria Trevino finished with six kills while Kendra McRuffin recorded four.
The Lady T-Birds travel to the 37th Annual Pizza Hut Invitational in Sterling, Colo. The Lady T-Birds play twice on Friday and Saturday before returning home and getting back into WJCAC action with a trip to NMMI on Wednesday, Sept. 18.
New Mexico Junior College freshman Taishlennie Rolon returns a serve during the Lady Thunderbirds second set loss to Midland College Wednesday night. NMJC lost 3-0 to the Lady Chaparrals.