Lady Cats host Hobbs in district volleyball final

Junior Jasmine McDonald battles for a ball at the net against Carlsbad. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

En route to a school record 10-match winning streak, the Clovis High volleyball team dispatched rival Hobbs twice.

They’ll try to do it again tonight when the Lady Wildcats host the Lady Eagles at Rock Staubus Gym in the 6:30 p.m. championship match of the District 4-5A tournament.

Both teams are already assured a berth in the regional round of the playoffs next week, but tonight’s winner is expected to get a homecourt match. And coach Darrel Ray isn’t taking anything for granted.

“Hobbs serves hard and well,” Ray said. “That’s their major attack. If they catch you on an off-night and you don’t pass well, they can give you problems.”

Clovis (14-6) hasn’t played since losing in five games at Carlsbad on Oct. 21, ending its winning streak. The Lady Eagles (15-6), coached by Melrose High alum Brenda (Hightower) Wilson, advanced to the finals with a three-game semifinal sweep of Carlsbad on Thursday night.

“Hobbs is just persistent,” Ray said. “Brenda’s a coach who knows how to get people ready to play, and she’s gotten a lot out of her team.”

After a bit of a rocky start, the Lady Cats hit their stride in midseason and they don’t anticipate any hangover from the loss at Carlsbad.

“It kind of brought us back to reality,” senior libero Brianne Bracken said. “It’s a good thing it happened now.”

Bracken acknowledged that it helps playing at home.

“Definitely, but I’m still nervous,” she said. “I want us to win as many (matches) as possible.”

Whether or not the end of the winning streak is a good thing is open to question, Ray said.

“I don’t know how that goes,” he said. “We’ll take what we can get. Our kids were a little off that night, and Carlsbad did what they needed to do to win.”

Bracken said the Lady Cats have the potential to do well in postseason.

“I know we can go to the state tournament,” she said. “As far as winning it, well, I think we can.

“That might be a big statement, but we have it all. Everything has to click, but if I does I think it’ll be really good.