Alamosa senior Taylor Escheman waits for a ball to come down during the first set of Saturday's 5-set loss to Sangre de Cristo.
Photo courtesy of Barbara Escheman
Courier Sports Editor
ALAMOSA—It came down to the final two points in the fifth set and the fourth set needed extra points before Saturday’s non-conference homecoming contest between the Sangre de Cristo Lady Thunderbirds and the Alamosa Mean Moose came to an end here at Alamosa High School.
The Sangre de Cristo Thunderbirds avenged their only loss of the season when the Alamosa Mean Moose got a 3-set sweep on Sept. 11. Saturday the Thunderbirds won with set scores of 23-25, 25-22, 25-21, 27-29 and 15-13.
“They didn’t give up,” said Sangre de Cristo Head Coach Misti Lamburt after Saturday’s contest. “We were swept last time we played them and the fact that we came out with a ‘W’ was big for us.”
The win for Sangre de Cristo came on the heels of a 3-set sweep of the previously undefeated and No. 10 ranked Del Norte Tigers on Friday night. With Saturday’s win the Thunderbirds improved their season record to 14-1 and their 7-0 record has them atop the 2A Southern Peaks League standings.
Lamburt explained how Friday’s huge game could have affected her team. “We looked forward to that game the whole week that we used a lot of adrenaline,” she said.
Alamosa is now 10-8 overall on the season and sits in second place in the Intermountain League as they carry a 3-1 record, their only loss to the Bayfield Wolverines.
“It has been a busy week,” said Alamosa Head Coach Amy Ortega as she explained the difficulty the team faced as they played the game on the day of Alamosa High School’s homecoming dance and the day after a daylong pep-fest. “We had the opportunities to get the win, we just need to take advantage them.”
Both teams will return to conference action this week. Alamosa will host the Centauri Falcons (5-9 overall, 1-3 IML) tonight with first serve scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The Thunderbirds will host 1A SPL’s La Veta (8-4) on Friday before they host Crested Butte (7-8 overall, 2-4 SPL) on Saturday.
Besides being a good rivalry on the court, the two coaches know each other pretty well. “We coach with each other in the off-season in club ball and in the senior showcase,” said Lamburt. “We always look forward to playing good teams and we know they are a great team and always getting better.”
The first set saw Sangre de Cristo jump out to a 5-point lead only for Alamosa to charge back and take a lead before the set was tied at 20. Alamosa would have two attacking errors to give Sangre de Cristo a 22-20 lead. Senior Blake Faucett made two huge impactful kills to give Alamosa a 24-23 lead. The set point was a big one that forced both teams to make rally saving dives all over the place. The rally did finally finish after Alamosa senior Annette McMichael nailed a kill between sprawling defenders for the 25-23 win.
The second set was once that had both teams battling to get the upper hand and the momentum. Sangre de Cristo did midway through the set as they opened up a 22-15 lead, a lead they hung on to for the 25-21 win.
Alamosa committed five attack errors and two serving errors to help the Thunderbirds maintain the momentum through the third set to get the 25-22 win.
The fourth set is when the game got everyone in attendance on their feet. Alamosa took the early lead and swelled their lead to seven points as they led 17-10. Sangre, behind the hard hitting of senior Kendra Neese and sophomore Abbey Stagner, came charging back and eventually took a 21-20 lead before the game was tied at 21. Sangre got two straight points for the last time in the set to make the score 23-21 before Alamosa went on a 3-point rally to take a 24-23 lead.
Stagner assured the set would need extra points to settle as she knocked down a kill. Each ensuing point had opposite sides of the gym clapping and cheering as the score was tied at 25, 26 and 27 before McMichael got a kill and junior Katie Lepp got an ace to seal the 29-27 win.
The final set was exactly the same as Alamosa opened with a 4-1 lead before Sangre came back and tied the score at 7. A timeout by Ortega had Alamosa moving forward again. The Thunderbirds kept in touch this time as the score was tied at 10, 11, 12 and 13. A carry by Alamosa and net violation by Alamosa gave the game to the Thunderbirds, 15-13.
“We did good, we started off slow but we kept battling,” said Stagner after the match. “We kept pushing for the next point after we fell behind. The win (against Del Norte) just fired us up, we had to come in and beat them on their court like they did to us.”
Other weekend scores
Sanford def. South Park, 3-0 (25-14, 25-19 and 28-26)
Telluride def. Del Norte, 3-2 (22-25, 25-7, 25-20, 15-25 and 15-9)
Sargent def. Telluride, 3-2 (25-23, 18-25, 14-25, 25-23 and 16-14)
Center def. Antonito, 3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-14)
Sargent def. Del Norte, 3-1
Pagosa Springs def. Centauri, 3-1
Telluride 2, Alamosa 0