By Leroy Chavez<br />Sports writer
RATON — The Raton High School Lady Tigers volleyball team lost a highly anticipated match to West Las Vegas Thursday (Oct. 24), then were not able to rebound losing to Las Vegas Robertson in the “Dig Pink” match Saturday (Oct. 26) in two key District 2AAA matches.
“Overall, it was a shocking weekend,” said Lady Tiger Coach Zack Romero. “Against West (Las Vegas) we lost the momentum in the third game and never got it back, while against Robertson we started out distracted and were not able to overcome it.”
On Thursday, in a match that was to determine second place in the regular district season standings, the Lady Dons of West Las Vegas rebounded from a 0-2 deficit to down the Lady Tigers 3-2 in another epic battle.
A fired-up Raton squad came out swinging and took control of game one with an impressive 25-22 victory.
Game two proved to be similar to game one as Raton rolled to another 25-22 win to take a 2-0 match lead into game three.
A feisty Lady Don squad rebounded with a somewhat easy 25-17 win in game three, and Raton’s momentum went out the door.
Game four saw the Lady Dons take a big lead. The Lady Tigers came back strong late in the game but were unable to make up the big early deficit, and WLV prevailed 25-20.
In the final game, two Mikala Vertovec spikes gave Raton a 3-0 lead before the Lady Dons roared back to tie the game at 3-3. A Leah Cimino spike followed a Cimino ace gave the Lady Tigers a 6-4 lead, but WLV rallied to take their first lead at 7-6.
A Vertovec kill tied the score at 7-7 before the Lady Dons reeled off four straight points to take an 11-7 lead. A Kallista Dorrance kill and a WLV error made the score 12-9 WLV. Another Lady Don error made the score 12-10 WLV.
The Lady Dons used two kills to up the advantage to 14-10 before a service error made the score 14-11 WLV. In the next play, a Lady Don kill sealed the deal at 15-11 and the match at 3-2.
Service was a positive again as the Lady Tigers served for 92 percent for the match with seven aces. Individually, Leah Cimino was 18 for 18 with one ace; Mikala Vertovec was 15 for 15 with two aces; Ashley Nuerauter was 20 for 21 for 91 percent; Sarandon Walton was 18 for 20 for 90 percent and one ace; Kallista Dorrance was 9 for 10 with one ace; and Shania Dorrance was 11 for 15 for 73 percent.
A possible third match between these two squads is quite possible in the semifinals of the District 2AAA tournament. The match will definitely be worth the price of admission of a great high school match that can go either way. The old adage that “it’s hard to beat a good team three times” will definitely be tested.
<span style=”text-decoration: underline”><strong>Robertson 3, Raton 2</strong></span>
In the annual “Dig Pink” game, the Lady Tigers were not able to rebound from a loss to West Las Vegas, losing to Las Vegas Robertson 3-2. The loss makes this weekend’s games vital for seeding in the upcoming district tourney. A win over Taos almost assuredly gives Raton the third seed over Robertson since the Lady Tigers beat the Cardinals 3-0 in the match in Las Vegas.
“We’ll be working on some new things to boost our confidence this week and really work at being prepared and focused against Taos,” Romero said. “The Taos game will be big. We need to come out focused and stay focused for every game.”
The Lady Cardinals won game one 25-22, then watched Raton bounce back with a 25-19 and 25-15 wins in games two and three. Robertson refused to yield, winning game four 25-20 forcing game five. In game five, the Lady Cardinals just eked out a 16-14 win.
Raton played well in all aspects of the game but had untimely lapses, which ultimately led to their demise.
The Lady Tigers served well again as they served 84 percent for the game and recorded 14 aces and only failed to successfully serve the ball six times.
Individually, Walton was 20 for 20 and one ace; Cimino was 16 for 16 and two aces; Neurauter was 14 for 14 and two aces; Caydence Sisneros was 10 for 10 with four aces; Vertovec was 16 for 18 for 89 percent with three aces; Shania Dorrance was 15 for 17 for 88 percent with two aces; and Kallista Dorrance was 10 for 12 for 83 percent with one ace.
“Dig pink” is a match where the home team or both teams wear a pink uniform instead of regular school colors to help bring awareness to breast cancer and cancer as a whole. The game honors cancer survivors and their families and has become a yearly tradition.
“The girls just need to believe in themselves and stick together,” Romero said. “We have a lot of volleyball left to play.”
The Lady Tigers will close out the regular season with road matches against the Taos Tigers on Thursday (Oct. 31) and the Pojoaque Valley Elkettes on Saturday (Nov. 1). Both games are scheduled to start at 4 p.m. with the C-teams initiating the action.