By Tony Parra
By Tony Parra
PNT Staff Writer
FORT SUMNER — The Elida Lady Tigers and Fort Sumner Vixens are looking at a possible fourth matchup this season when they compete this weekend in the Class 1A Region B volleyball tournament.
The teams split their District 3-1A regular-season matches, necessitating a playoff last weekend at Elida for the title. Fort Sumner (18-4) won in three games, and thus is hosting this event with Elida (14-5) coming in as the district’s No. 2 seed.
Fort Sumner takes on Santa Fe-based New Mexico School for the Deaf at 6 p.m. Friday, with Elida slated to face Albuquerque Victory Christian in the second contest. If both District 3-1A teams win as expected, they would qualify for next week’s 1A state tournament and would play at 7 p.m. Saturday for the regional championship.
“We have one of the toughest district in the state,” Fort Sumner coach Lisa McMath said. “I think they have a weaker district, buty they (NMSD) have a scrappy team. We need to work on our blocking.”
The Lady Tigers are led by hitters Keisha Chenault, a senior, and Adrienne Cole and Amber Griffin, both juniors. Elida also advanced to the regional tournament last season, also, but lost to Animas.
“We have a combination of leaders,” coach Darrell Chenault said. “They all rally around the team concept.”
The Lady Tigers face an opponent they know little about, just the type of match often created by the new system of regional tournaments adopted by the New Mexico Activities Association, according to Chenault.
“We only know about (Victory Christian) through word of mouth,” Darrell Chenault said. “I talked to one coach that played them that said they like to hit out of the middle.”
The focus for the Lady Tigers this week will be on their team, more than the opponent.
“We had problems passing and serving against Fort Sumner,” Chenault said. “One of our strengths is our blocking. Another of our strengths is our attacking, if we are aggressive.
“We need to win on Friday to guarantee at least two more games. If we can get those things (passing and serving) corrected, we’ll be fine.”
Elida won the first matchup against Fort Sumner, but the Vixens took the last two. The top two teams in regional advance to the state tournament Nov. 13-15 in Roswell.
Fort Sumner captured the 1A state championship in 2000 and finished second the last two seasons, losing to Des Moines in the finals last season.
Chenault said the Lady Tigers have a couple of girls with tweaked ankles, but added that neither injury appears to be serious and he expects all 10 of his players to be ready for Friday’s match.