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State volleyball tournament underway at Rio Rancho Event Center


FARMINGTON − Three high school volleyball teams from San Juan County tipped off their postseason Thursday morning at the Rio Rancho Event Center with hopes of attaining a state championship.

Aztec High School's volleyball team won their opening round match, defeating Kirtland Central in the Class 4A bracket, while Navajo Prep fell short in their Class 3A opening round match against Ruidoso.

Here's a glance at how local and area teams fared on the opening day of the three-day event.

Ruidoso 3, Navajo Prep 0

The seventh-seeded Navajo Prep volleyball team came up short in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament, losing in a three games to none sweep to 10th-seeded Ruidoso on Thursday morning at the Rio Rancho Event Center.

The Lady Warriors won the match with scores of 25-19, 25-14 and 25-19 to advance to the second round of the championship bracket and a match Thursday afternoon against second-seeded Robertson. The loss sent Navajo Prep on the verge of elimination, with a consolation bracket match Thursday night against Cottonwood Classical Prep.

Navajo Prep 3, Cottonwood Classical Prep 2

Staving off elimination for at least one more match, the Navajo Prep volleyball team fought back from a two games to one deficit Thursday afternoon to knock off Cottonwood Classical Prep in a consolation round match of the Class 3A state tournament at the Rio Rancho Event Center.

The seventh-seeded Lady Eagles opened the marathon showdown winning the opening set 25-19 before the Lady Coyotes tied things up with a 25-23 win in the second set. Cottonwood Classical won the third set 27-25 before Navajo Prep rallied, winning the fourth set 25-11 and the fifth and decisive set by a score of 15-11.

The win allows Navajo Prep to extend their season as they will face fourth-seeded Santa Fe Indian School Friday afternoon. The winner of that match will move on to the next round while the loser will go home.

Aztec 3, Kirtland Central 1

The Aztec High School volleyball team moved on to the second round of the Class 4A state volleyball tournament, beating District 1-4A rival Kirtland Central three games to one Thursday morning at the Rio Rancho Event Center.

More:Lady Tigers volleyball rolls over Gallup in final week of regular season

The Lady Tigers won the opening set 25-17 before Kirtland Central evened the match with a 25-21 win in the second set. Aztec rallied to win the final two sets by scores of 25-19 and 25-22 to earn the win and a second round championship bracket match Thursday afternoon against second-seeded St. Pius.

The loss drops the Lady Broncos into the consolation bracket and a showdown Thursday night against Albuquerque Academy.

The win comes on the heels of Aztec's volleyball team celebrating the collegiate signing of senior Madison Edwards, who will attend Ft. Lewis College next fall to pursue her volleyball career.

"(Edwards) is a dynamic player and a great role model for the younger girls," said Aztec volleyball head coach Anna Strauss. "She's been playing on the varsity team since the eighth grade so she has a lot of experience. She is going to do amazing things at the next level."

In her senior season, Edwards recorded more than 570 assists while earning a team-high 70 service aces. Her 135 kills puts her third on the team in that category this season.

St. Pius 3, Aztec 1

The second-seeded St. Pius High School volleyball team secured a spot in the Class 4A state volleyball semifinals after beating Aztec three games to one Thursday afternoon at the Rio Rancho Event Center.

The Lady Sartans won the opening set by a score of 25-18 before Aztec rallied to win the second 25-20. St. Pius earned the victory by sweeping the final two sets by scores of 25-15 and 30-28.

The win sends St. Pius into a third round clash Friday afternoon against third-seeded Artesia.

Aztec 3, Silver 1

Playing in their third match of the day, the Aztec High School volleyball team remained alive in the Class 4A state tournament after a three games to one victory Thursday night at the Rio Rancho Event Center.

The seventh-seeded Lady Tigers opened the match winning each of the first two sets by scores of 25-18 and 25-17. Silver rallied to win the third set 25-23 but came up short in the fourth set 25-20, allowing the Lady Tigers to advance in the consolation bracket and a Friday afternoon clash with sixth-seeded Los Alamos. The winner of that match will remain in the tournament while the loser will have their season come to an end.

Albuquerque Academy 3, Kirtland Central 1

The Albuquerque Academy volleyball team put an end to the Kirtland Central season on Thursday afternoon, eliminating the Lady Broncos in a three sets to one consolation round win during the state Class 4A tournament at the Rio Rancho Event Center.

The Lady Chargers won the match after splitting the first two sets. Albuquerque Academy opened with a 25-12 win before Kirtland Central evened the match with a 25-21 win. The final two sets went to the Lady Chargers by scores of 25-20 and 25-11 to remain alive in the tournament, ending Kirtland Central's season with a three-match losing streak and an overall record of 14-10.