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State Volleyball Wrap Up by Arnie Leshin

Game, set, matches to state volleyball champions Logan in 2A, Texico in 3A, and Sandia Prep in 4A, with top seeds Centennial in 6A, St. Pius X in 5A, and Elida in Class A losing in Saturday’s finals

Sandia surprises in 6A, Los Lunas in 5A, Melrose in Class A on the courts at Santa Fe Ana Star Center

Arnie Leshin

By ARNIE LESHIN, Santa Fe Today

Three top seeds had to settle for second place when the state volleyball championships were played Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

Six classes took the court to determine state champs. Top seeds Logan won in 2A, Texico in 3A, and Albuquerque Sandia Prep in 4A, but disappointed were Elida in Class A, Albuquerque St. Pius X in 5A, and Las Cruces Centennial in 6A.

It was the only meeting of the season for Centennial and 3rd seeded Albuquerque Sandia, but it turned in the Matadors favor as they ended Centennial’s 23-match win streak in five grueling sets, 25-19, 20-25, 25-16, 17-25, 15-12.

Sandia concluded at 17-6 and the Hawks at 23-2, with the other loss coming against Coronado, Ariz. Both schools were given first-round byes, with Centennial winning twice by 3-0 scores, Sandia by 3-1 both times.

In 5A, 3rd seeded Los Lunas finally finished ahead of St. Pius X. of Albuquerque, the top seed. During the regular season, the Sartans had tamed the Tigers, 3-2, 3-1, 3-1, and on Saturday it appeared to be close to winning the state title, too, but what began well wound up a disaster.

St. Pius X (20-3) had taken the first two sets, 25-19, 25-23, but suddenly Los Lunas (21-4) turned into a different team with a surprising 25-23, 25-17, 20-18 turn of events that brought it the blue trophy, its second ever, and first since 1979.

Then there was Class A where Elida, which also dominates this group in girl’s basketball, and had won three-straight states in volleyball. It played 3rd seeded Melrose five times during the campaign and won three of them. But the Buffaloes had won five states of its own in the sport, and stunned the Tigers in a 25-23, 26-24, 26-24 sweep.

Both had a first-round bye, and while Elida won at 3-1 and 3-0, Melrose swept both its matches. Elida wound up at 23-3 and had won its last eight, while Melrose finished at 19-7 and won its sixth state title, one more than Elida.

In 3A, Texico (21-4) and Santa Rosa (18-7) was No. 1 versus No. 2 and was not as close as expected, with Texico victorious 25-18, 25-16, 25-19. With first-round byes, the Wolverines swept their two matches and the Lions took a pair of 3-1 decisions. It was Texico’s 11th state championship.

In 2A, top-seed Logan and 2nd seed Ramah lined up for the first time this season and it went an exciting five sets before the Longhorns wrapped it up 20-25, 25-19, 25-19, 24-26, 15-9.  Logan finished at 21-3 and Ramah at 20-3.

In 4A, the top two seeds, Sandia Prep and Robertson matched up in the championship for the second-straight time and again the Sun Devils won via a sweep, this time 25-21, 25-20, 25-15, to run its all-time record against the Cardinals to 6-0. Both had opening-round byes, with neither losing a set.

Sandia Prep’s third-straight title included only two defeats, both 3-0 to state 5A champion Los Lunas, and to 5A state runner-up St. Pius X, and it wound up at 23-2.  It won its final 17 matches. Robertson went 22-3, with the one setback 3-0 earlier this season to Sandia Prep, and the other to Portales, 3-1. The Cardinals have never won a volleyball title.

Of the Santa Fe area schools, Capital High finished third in pool play in 5A and then lost in straight sets in the Round of 12 to Kirtland Central.

In 4A, St. Michael’s won its pool, swept Santa Fe Indian School in the quarterfinals and then fell to Sandia Prep, 3-0, in the semifinals. In 3A, Santa Fe Prep took second in its pool, won its Round of 12 match, 3-1, over Rehoboth Christian, and then lost 3-0 to Dexter in the quarters.

Desert Academy, also in 3A, was second in its pool, won its Round of 12 match over Capitan, 3-0, and was then eliminated 3-0 versus Estancia in the quarters.

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