CHS VOLLEYBALL: Lady Cats think they’re set for district

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

Darrel Ray admits he’d like to see the record a little better for his Clovis High volleyball team as the Lady Wildcats prepare for the start of District 4-5A play tonight at Hobbs.

Still, their 8-8 record is a little deceiving, he said — much of it has come against rugged Texas competition.

“Our schedule was designed to prepare us (for district play),” Ray said. “We haven’t had an easy road.

“The schedule was a little tougher on us than I anticipated — I was hoping to be a little better record-wise. But I think it’s done what we wanted it to do.”

Five of Clovis’ losses have come in seven outings against Texas teams. The Lady Cats were also swept by Roswell Goddard, and split home-and-home matches against Roswell High.

Senior outside hitter Siobhan Flatow agreed that the schedule has toughened the team up.

“This is what we’ve been building toward,” she said. “Coach Ray gives us a heavy schedule in the regular season. I think all the girls realize this is what we’ve been waiting for.”

The Lady Cats played Hobbs (8-8) in pool play in the season-opening Clovis Invitational, and Flatow said they saw the Lady Eagles during summer team camps.

“We just have to go in there and play our game,” she said.

With only three teams in the district, the 4-5A run will be a quick one. Clovis has another road trip on tap to Carlsbad on Tuesday, then will host each of its district foes on the next two Tuesdays to close out the regular season.

If they survive the two road trips, the Lady Cats should be in good shape.

“Everybody’s more comfortable playing at home,” Flatow said. “You’ve got to be mentally strong, but we’re ready to finish out our season real tough.”

Ray said his squad, which graduated several key players after reaching the quarterfinals of the Class 5A state tournament last fall before losing in five games to then-unbeaten Las Cruces Mayfield, has steadily improved this season.

“We feel like we’ve been prepared and tested,” he said. “At this point, I think we’re in good shape to see anybody on the other side of the net. We’ve got our positions figured out and we’re ready to start district.”