All-star volleyball matches set for tonight

Clovis High’s Jessica Hohn goes low for a dig during a Lady Wildcats volleyball match last fall at Rock Staubus Gym. CNJ file photo

By Dave Wagner

Although Monique Walker and Jessica Hohn plan to play volleyball in college this fall, the recent Clovis High graduates are trying to sharpen their games quickly this week in preparation for tonight’s New Mexico High School Coaches Association Class 3A-5A all-star match in Albuquerque.

The match is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the University of New Mexico’s Johnson Center. The CHS representatives are members of the South squad coached by Keith Leupold of Las Cruces High, whose team knocked the Lady Wildcats out of the postseason in the Class 5A regional round last fall.

A Class 1A-2A contest kicks off the twin bill at 6 p.m. Melrose’s Allison Cochran will play for the South squad in that matchup.

Neither Walker nor Hohn has played a lot of volleyball since the high school season ended in November. But they’re looking forward to the match, and playing with some of the people they competed against in high school.

“Everyone’s really nice,” said Hohn, an outside hitter who plans to attend Newman University in Wichita, Kan. “It’s weird (playing with high school opponents), but it’s a lot of fun and we all get along really well.”

Walker, a middle hitter for the Lady Cats, said she expects a competitive match with the best graduating volleyball players in the state on the court.

“It’s going to be a really good game,” she said. “Both teams will have a lot of firepower.”

The teams practiced for the first time Sunday evening and worked out twice on Monday before attending a movie.

Walker, who will leave next month for Division I South Carolina State University, said she’s enjoyed being around her all-star teammates, noting that most of them will play college volleyball somewhere this fall.

“They’re really cool, and they just love volleyball to death,” she said.

And while it’s a fun time, Hohn said the competitive nature of the players will probably come out during the match.
“We want to beat the North,” she said.

Cochran admitted she was a little surprised to be selected after missing six weeks of her senior season with an ankle injury.

“I’m really enjoying it,” she said of the all-star experience. “I can’t wait for the game. We have some pretty good athletes.”

While she will attend Eastern New Mexico University in the fall, Cochran doesn’t plan to play this year. She said, though, she might try to walk on in the future.

“I was offered to play at LCU (Lubbock Christian), but I turned it down,” she said. “I’m just going to work out and go to school next year.

“I’m kind of testing myself to see if I miss it.”
Cochran said her best friends this week have turned out to be Tatum’s Tina Burnett and Elida’s Keisha Chenault, both rivals in District 3-1A.

“I didn’t expect that,” she said. “On the court (as opponents) it’s a totally different story, but when you’re on the same team it’s a lot of fun.”