First one down
Lady T-Birds get first home win and first-ever WJCAC conference victory, in program history
EDUARDO MIRANDA NEWS-SUN
September 256 2019
EDUARDO MIRANDA/NEWS-SUN New Mexico Junior College's Andrea Spasojevic goes up for a hit against Frank Phillips College Wednesday night at Caster Arena. The Lady T-Birds swept the Lady Plainsmen to earn the programs first home conference win.
The New Mexico Junior College volleyball team opened the home portion of conference play with only its second ever match in Caster Arena. The first-year program had yet to win a match on its own home court and Wednesday night was only its second chance to mark off a first.
The Lady Thunderbirds did exactly that, and more, when they swept the visiting Frank Phillips College 25-21, 25-22, 25-22 in front of a very supportive group of fans.
"Its awesome," Lady T-Bird head coach Alexandra Lehocky said on winning the program's first home and conference game. "It's a good feeling. I definitely want to keep this feeling going we have two more games. I'm excited to see what this group can do."
The Lady T-Birds (10-13) showed Lehocky and the fans what it is capable of doing in the sweep over the Lady Plainsmen. In all three sets the Lady T-Birds found themselves trailing, the largest deficit was six, before coming back to take the lead and the win.
In the first set, NMJC trailed 16-12 before staging a comeback that began with a kill from Andrea Spasojevic of Serbia. NMJC forced Franks Phillips College into two unforced errors, cutting the deficit to 17-14. Spasojevic scored another kill for the Lady T-birds then Ace Sawadogo of Virginia scored on a block cutting the lead to a point, 17-16. Kristine Teivane of Latvia tied the score at 17-17 with a kill from the left side, and NMJC took the lead off an ace from Eloise Rique of France, with some help from the net. The Lady Plainsmen fought back to bring the set even at 19-all before taking a one-point lead, but the home team responded by scoring three unanswered points. Leading 22-20, the Lady T-Birds' home crowd chanted support in helping the home team secure a 25-21 win.
Leading the match 1-0, NMJC found itself trailing by six points 14-8 before staging another comeback in the second set. Spasojevic started the comeback with a kill and on the ensuing play Frank Phillips College hit the ball out of bounds. Valeria Trevino of Brownsville, Texas scored off a block cutting the Lady Plainsmen lead to 14-11, then Franks Phillip College gifted NMJC a point by hitting the ball out of bounds. Trailing 14-13, Trevino scored the equalizer on a block and Sawadogo put the Lady T-Birds in the lead with a block. NMJC went on to build a two-point lead, but the visitors evened the set twice at 21-21 and 22-22. NMJC
scored the final three-points of the set and all through Spasojevic to win the second set 25-22.
In the final set NMJC found itself in an early 4-0 hole that prompted a quick timeout by the Lady T-Birds' coach. After the timeout the Lady T-Birds fought their way back into the set and tied it at 8-8. The set became a back and forth affair between the Lady T-Birds and Lady Plainsmen. NMJC took an early lead from a kill by Kendra McRuffin and Franks Phillips College countered with an equalizer on the next point. The home team could not build any separation until they went ahead 17-15 when the Lady Plainsmen hit the ball out of bounds. The Lady T-Birds held on to the lead and at 24-22, Teivane registered a kill to give the players, coaching staff, and fans something to cheer, a 25-22 win and the first home match win in program history.
Lehocky was glad to see her team make a comeback each time it was down especially in the second set when the Lady T-Birds trailed by six.
"Feels good," she said on the comeback. "I did get a little upset when we got behind from our errors, but this team really did work through those errors and came out on top."
New Mexico Junior College did commit plenty of unforced errors from bad serves, bad hits, touching the net, and mis communication. Its something Lehocky and her staff have been preaching to the players at practice, and its something she believes they will continue to work on.
The Lady T-Birds return to the court tonight at 6 p.m. in a non-conference game against Vernon College.