Warriors corral Colts for first win

Gateway junior McKayla Fox tips the ball over NMMI blockers Rilan Maloney and JayCee Payne.
Gateway junior McKayla Fox tips the ball over NMMI blockers Rilan Maloney and JayCee Payne.

NMMI Sports Press

Cross-town rival Gateway Christian topped the New Mexico Military Institute in a varsity volleyball match in the Godfrey Athletic Center on Thursday, corralling the Colts in straight sets: 25-21, 25-21, 25-12.

It was the second of the season for both teams – the Warriors had dropped their season-opener at Mescalero Apache in three sets, while the Colts won in Hondo in five.

“We did better than last week,” said head Gateway coach Kerri Pirtle. “Defense, we’re looking pretty good, but we’re struggling with hitting confidence right now. Both of our setters were out last game, and we’re trying to get them back in. One got back in full-time this game, the other is still favoring an injury a little bit.”

Coach Pirtle was especially happy with the experience her team is getting early in the season.

“We’ve got some young girls who are getting a lot of varsity experience right off the bat,” said coach Pirtle. “I’m very proud of them.”

Head NMMI coach Stephanie Schooley saw at least one positive in the loss.

“We were a little more comfortable tonight in our rotation. In Hondo we were kind of scrambling, forgetting where we were supposed to be,” said Schooley. “But it’s like we were playing in slow motion. I want to see us be more aggressive out there. On offense, I felt like we were just placing balls back over the net instead of really trying to swing. On defense, too much standing around, playing a spot on the floor, instead of opening up and transitioning to where the ball is at. Some of that will come with more communication with each other. We’re still learning to trust each other out on the floor, and finding out that the person behind you is going to back you up.”

Next up for NMMI will be a week chock-full of matches: Tuesday, Sept. 3 at home vs. Loving, Thursday, Sept. 5 on the road in Lake Arthur, then four more matches on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 6-7 in the Gateway Christian Classic.

The Warriors won’t play again until they host the above-mentioned tournament.