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NMMI sweeps Franks Phillips; advances to Region V championship

November 2, 2013
New Mexico Military Institute



NMMI got the first three-game victory in the Region 5 volleyball tournament, downing Frank Phillips 25-18, 25-21, 25-20 Saturday to advance to the tournament championship game vs. Odessa at 4 p.m. in Cahoon Armory.

The No. 2 seed Broncos got the win with an all-around effort, not only from every player, but in all parts of the game:  hitting, blocking, digging and serving.

“Our team played well in like every aspect,” said Bronco coach Shelby Forchtner. “We served tough, like we asked them to do. We weren’t really blocking a whole lot until we put Mere (Serea) in there, then she took kind of control of that. Our kids were being aggressive and we went over a lot of key things in practice that we wanted to break apart in their defense and our kids really did that. They made them work a lot more than we were working on our side. So that’s kind of what we wanted.”

The Plainsmen finished out the season on fire, winning their last five WJCAC matches, including topping NMMI, Odessa and West Texas. But they were almost upset Friday in the opening round of the tournament vs. No. 6 seed Clarendon, and the Institute pretty much had their number all day Saturday.

In Game 1, the only FPC lead was 2-1, after that the Broncos slowly and methodically pulled away. They led 5-2 and 8-3 before the Plainsmen called a time out, then stretched the lead to 14-4.

Frank Phillips took advantage of some NMMI mistakes late to close the gap a bit, but after FPC made it 23-18, the Institute got service on a top by Ashley Landreth and the win on a hit that fell in by Ashlei Swaim.

The Plainsmen held a small early lead in Game 2, going up 9-7 on a strong performance by Hunter Lenz both at the net and line. But after a side out on a kill, Cara Salazar served six straight, tying it at 11-all on a Plainsman hitting error then going up 14-11 with a tip and hit by Serea and two blocks.

A service error by FPC gave the ball right back to NMMI, who made it 17-12, but, after Frank Phillips took advantage of several Institute mistakes to close it to 17-6, the Broncos allowed no more offensive points, closing the game out on a tip by Mariah Cox.

The Plainsmen stayed tough in Game 3, but couldn’t overcome the NMMI assault. After 1-1 and 3-3 ties, the Institute pulled out 13-7on two aces by Lea Boras — one which tipped the net and just fell in — and a kill by Serea. FPC battled back, again using Bronco mistakes to tie it at 13-all, but a tip by Baric put the Institute back on top.

The teams then pretty much traded side outs until 20-20, when a double hit call gave the ball back to the Broncos, a net ball made it 22-20  and an FPC hitting error 23-20, then the NMMI offense took the game and match with a kill and block.

The all-around effort from the Institute shows in the stats.

Serea had six kills and six blocks; Baric 11 kills, seven digs and six blocks; Boras six kills, two aces and eight blocks; Cristal Quinonez six kills, an ace and three blocks; Swaim 29 assists and 10 digs; Salazar an ace and seven digs; and Cox an ace and five blocks.

“And that’s what we want,” Forchtner said of the spread-out effort. “For them to not know what going on.”

Next up for the Broncos is the tournament championship game against No. 1 seed Odessa at 4 p.m. Saturday.

“So now, this is our second goal,” Forchtner said. “We won conference, which was our first goal. Our second goal was to win regionals and that’s today at 4 o’clock and then go on to the national level and achieve history.”


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