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Kofa sweeps Cibola in first meeting of season
Eight days since their last match, the Kofa Kings volleyball team fell into a quick hole against the rival Cibola Raiders.
Then Jasmine Ortiz stepped in for Kofa.
The junior outside hitter had eight of her team-high 17 kills in the first game and the Kings swept the Raiders 25-21, 25-17, 25-20 Tuesday night at home.
Ortiz added 11 digs, senior middle blocker Jacky Fuentes had seven kills and sophomore setter Sally Gastelo had 26 assists for the Kings, who are currently ranked No. 24 in Division I AIA Power Points. However, the play of the Kings left much to be desired — including 14 service errors on the night.
“When the game ended and as I was walking back to the locker room thinking about it overall, I wasn't satisfied with what I saw tonight. I'm not upset because we won, but we could have done better,” Kofa coach Brittany Garcia said.
“You always want a consistent team and I feel we're kind of up and down right now. Winning the game is obviously good, but I want more out of my team because I know they can do better.”
Both teams seemed to feel the added excitement, considering this was the first meeting of the year between the Raiders and Kings. Last season, Kofa won all four matches.
“Cibola is our biggest rival and we wanted to come out strong,” Ortiz said.
“The rivalry between the teams is huge and it gets them pumped and ready to go,” Cibola coach Julian Umphress said.
Cibola (3-5) jumped out to a 5-0 lead to start the match with a couple of aces by Brittany Olea. Considering the Kings' last match was a sweep of San Luis on Sept. 17, Garcia felt Kofa might have come out on its heels.
“I don't want to say it was (the eight-day break) because that's an excuse, but I could see how having a break like that, it's hard to get back up. But that never should have happened.”
Kofa came back and took the lead for good after a Cibola service error put the Kings (6-2) up 18-17. Ortiz finished it off by a tip shot on the left side — an attack she used frequently against the Raiders.
“It came in handy a lot. I saw they were a little slow to the tips. This game I used my tip shots more than any other game combined,” Ortiz said. “It was working, so I kept hitting that same spot.”
“They didn't adjust very well to the tips,” Umphress said of her Raiders.
The Kings built up a big enough lead that they had it in hand well before Kofa middle blocker Makyla Orman pounded a pass from Gastelo into the middle of the floor to take the second game.
Cibola led 17-16 in the third game, but a kill by Orman tied it and an attack error by the Raiders gave the Kings the lead for good. Both teams struggled in the final game with their serving. Kofa committed five serving errors; Cibola finished with six.
Regardless, Umphress wasn't disappointed in the Raiders despite being swept.
“I told them good job, there was nothing to be discouraged of. It was just minor mistakes, little things we have to work on. Nothing major.”
Jesse Severson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 539-6881. Find him on Facebook at facebook.com/YSJesseSeverson