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By Lindsey Bright
They knew what they had to do: concentrate, keep their heads in the game, stay focused and play volleyball.
The Pagosa Pirate volleyball team hosted two matches in the last week, and split the difference with New Mexico opponents.
In the first match, last Thursday night against the Farmington Scorpions, the Pirates set their plan into action and beat the Scorpions in five games: 25-22, 15-25, 23-25, 25-22, 17-15.
“We won the first game and then lost the next two. I think it was really good for the girls to be in that situation,” coach Connie O’Donnell said. “It will help us later on in the season.”
However, the plan was harder to execute last Tuesday night when the Pirates welcomed the undefeated Piedra Vista Panthers to the court.
With the Panthers came two girls over six feet tall and outside hitters who know how to seek out and get the kill. The Panthers defeated the Pirates in three games: 8-25, 8-25, 14-25.
Against Farmington, O’Donnell said the Pirates were moving their feet to the ball, did well in keeping the ball in play, took the time to set up the plays and executed the plays aggressively.
“We did a lot better aggressively and set the tone for the game with such good defense,” O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell said the Pirates kept the ball in play, as if it couldn’t be killed.
“I think that’s our strength — keeping the ball in play until the other team gets tired,” O’Donnell said.
During the game, O’Donnell said, several volleys saw the ball go from side to side eight to 10 times.
“The extremely long volleys, we won all of them,” O’Donnell said.
“Angie Gallegos probably played the defensive game of her life. She did such a good job of getting to the ball. She wasn’t letting anything drop,” O’Donnell said of the senior.
Gabby Pajak, team captain, led both teams in attacks with 48, and a total 17 kills.
Payton Shahan followed Pajak’s lead with 34 attacks and six kills.
Megan Davey and Anissa Lucero were top servers for the Pirates, earning 14 and 9 points respectively.
Gallegos was team and match leader in digs with a total of 29.
Pajak led the team with serves received with 33, and Gallegos was close at hand with 30 serves received.
Davey had 18 assists and Lucero had 11.
The game against Piedra Vista, however, did not reveal the same aggressiveness on the part of the Pirates.
“We passed the ball really well and had some great digs, but I felt like we couldn’t back it up with any sort of offense,” O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell continued, explaining that the Pirates on the front row were timid against the towering Panthers.
“I don’t feel like we played our best,” O’Donnell said.
The coach’s desire is for the team to be able to step out on the court with a clear focus and for the Pirates to play their best no matter who their opponent is.
Tonight, at 6 p.m., the Pirates will have a chance to do this against the 2-5 Kirtland Central Broncos. The Pirates will go into the game with a 5-5 overall record.
Saturday, Pagosa takes to the road for a non-conference match at Dolores.
Next Tuesday, Pagosa hosts traditional rival Bayfield in the first of two, important regular season Intermountain League matchups.
Action in both home matches starts at 6 p.m.