Clovis’ Siobhan Flatow, right, and Aimee Hilburn, left, celebrate their Class 5A regional match win over Onate Saturday at Rock Staubus Gym. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ staff writer
Aimee Hilburn may not have been completely healthy, but the senior led her team to the state tournament with a strong performance at the serving stripe.
Playing through a sprained ankle suffered Thursday, Hilburn served up a match-high six aces to help the fifth-seeded Lady Wildcats fend off No. 12 Onate 25-18, 18-25, 25-16, 25-22 at a 5-A regional match Saturday at the Rock.
“Even though she might not have been 100 percent physically, she was 100 percent mentally,” Clovis coach Darrel Ray said.
Ray said the senior used both finesse and power in her serving game.
“We had on our scouting report that they were susceptible to short serves, and Aimee’s got good control,” Ray said. “Aimee used that part of that scouting report — she’d come in short, short, then hard, short, hard — she just kept them guessing.”
Hilburn added nine kills, which tied for the team lead with junior Siobhan Flatow.
Clovis (17-6) survived in regionals despite a week that included Hilburn’s injury and the suspension of a another starter.
“The tough week is behind us,” Ray said. “I can’t see anything being more difficult than the week we went through this week. It was set up for disaster if they let down, but they didn’t.”
Sophomore Jasmine McDonald added six kills and a block and freshman Lainey Flatow notched five kills and two blocks.
Ray said he foresees a big things for his team this week in Albuquerque.
“I think we’re just so relieved,” Ray said. “I think we’ll go up there and play loose.”
Hilburn took it a step further, predicting the purple and white will be raising the state championship trophy.
“I think we’re going to do really good,” Hilburn said. “I don’t know, I just have this feeling that we’re going to do it.”
Onate coach Calleen Hackney said she was disappointed their season was over.
“They played more aggressive at the net,” Hackney said. “We got on a roll there where we made five or six mistakes in a row and we couldn’t recover.”
Angelina Tirado had a match-high 10 kills for Onate (9-14), Sarah Bond-Maupin added seven kills, and Jessica King had four kills and four blocks.
Hackney had a one-word description for the seven-hour bus ride back to Las Cruces: “Morose.”
Clovis 3, Onate 1
Onate 18 25 16 22
Clovis 25 18 25 25
Kills — Onate, Angelina Tirado 10, Sarah Bond-Maupin 7, Jessica King 4, Lisa Perez 3, Kara Davis 3. Clovis, Aimee Hilburn 9, Siobhan Flatow 9, Jasmine McDonald 6, Lainey Flatow 5. Blocks — Onate, King 4, Davis 3. Clovis, S. Flatow 4, Tarrah Sweet 2, L. Flatow 2. Digs — Onate, Andrea Beeson 3, Davis 2. Clovis, Brianne Bracken 2, Kim Perkins 2. Aces — Onate, Perez 3, Beeson 2. Clovis, Hilburn 6, Perkins 3, Flatow 2. Assists — Onate, Maria Norby 14. Clovis, Sweet 21. Records — Onate 9-14, Clovis 17-6.