Sophomore Jarysse Harris of Texico goes for a kill against Estancia sophomore Victoria Barner on Thursday at Texico. (CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks)
By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent
TEXICO — As the Texico players came back into the gym for Game 5 of a showdown between the top two teams in Class 2A, one Lady Wolverines sophomore was fighting back tears.
Suffice it to say that Jaryse Harris would soon be feeling much better.
In a 26-24, 25-18, 19-25, 20-25, 15-13 victory for second-ranked Texico, Harris recorded a pair of kills in the last game and served a pair of aces for the last two points of the match.
“I was a little frustrated with myself because I knew I could do better,” Harris said. “I was just trying to shake off all the other plays I messed up on.”
Texico coach Mike Littlejohn assured Harris that she had more than made amends.
“I threw the towel over her head and said to leave it on there until I saw a smile,” he said.
Top-ranked Estancia (13-3) had beaten Texico (13-2) twice already this season. Both of the previous matches saw the Lady Wolverines win the first game and then lose three straight.
Texico again won the opening game this time, but had to recover from a 24-19 deficit to do so. A kill by Victoria Richards cut the Lady Bears’ lead to four points before Bryn Mayfield served the Lady Wolverines to six straight points — three on aces from the junior setter.
Game 2 was in Texico’s control nearly from the outset as it broke a 3-3 tie by going on a 10-2 run.
“We came out kind of nervous, kind of scared,” Estancia coach Glenda Noblitt said. “But they picked their heads up and fought it out.”
The Lady Bears got a pair of blocks from Ashlee Noyes to move away from a 16-16 deadlock in the fourth game and pull even in the match. Noyes posted nine kills for Estancia.
A net violation by Estancia’s Sharalynn Barela on an attack evened the fifth game at 13-13 before Harris served her match-clinching aces.
Richards totaled 12 kills for the Lady Wolverines, while Harris added 10.
“They were the No. 1 team and we were No. 2,” Harris said. “We just wanted to prove we could play with them.”
Littlejohn said he enjoyed the competition.
“It was a fun match, win or lose,” he said. “I mean, it’s more enjoyable afterward if you win, but it’s fun all the way around.”