SANTA FE – The Laguna-Acoma Lady Hawks volleyball team took on the upper division schools and brought home a fourth-place showing in the Tournament of Champions last weekend in Santa Fe.
In a field heavy with state championship contenders in 5A and 4A, the Lady Hawks rose to the challenge and left many teams shaking their heads and wondering, “Who is Laguna-Acoma?”
Head Coach Bernadine Douma said despite being tired after back to back tournaments, the Lady Hawks are looking forward to starting district action beginning next week.
“We’re a little burned out, but that is to be expected after this weekend,” Douma said. “The girls don’t mind, but I think they felt it.”
The coach said Laguna-Acoma was the smallest school in terms of enrollment entered in the 16-team tournament, but they may have been the smallest school with the biggest heart.
The Lady Hawks found themselves playing against Espanola Valley, St. Michael’s and Los Lunas High school. Laguna-Acoma completed pool play with five wins and one loss, its only defeat was against Espanola Valley.
“It was pretty intense, because we did pool play all morning long, and based on how we did in our pool, we got into bracket play later that same day,” said Douma.
The Lady Hawks felt a little regret after defeating Los Lunas, a team they lost to in the championship match in the Belen Invitational.
Douma said all the players wanted a “do-over” after sweeping loss Los Lunas in pool action. The Lady Hawks moved into the gold bracket with the opportunity to advance to the championship, but first they had to prove their worth against Capital High School from Santa Fe.
Laguna-Acoma swept Capital in three games and kept their service errors to a minimum. Douma said Capital had the size, but the Lady Hawks defense was the deciding factor in the match.
They moved on to the semi-finals were they met the defending 4A state champions Piedra Vista and eventual tournament most valuable player Katie Hegerty. The Lady Panthers showed Laguna-Acoma why they are also ranked number one in 4A and swept them in three games.
“They are a really tough and despite us being a small school, we kept up with them. The girls wanted and accepted the challenge,” Douma said. “We got so many compliments from all of the coaches and many of the fans that did not know we were a 2A school.”
With the loss, the Lady Hawks moved on to the consolation match against perennial state tournament contender, Moriarity.
Laguna-Acoma took the battle to the Lady Pintos, but lost the deciding game by a final score of 15-11.
Senior Aubrey Carr did her part to keep the Lady Hawks in the match finishing with 31 kills over five games.
Douma said she and her coaches were very happy with the play of the team during the two-day tournament, but there is still a lot of improvement that can take place, and she is positive the Lady Hawks are willing to put in the work to get better as district play begins on Tuesday.
“Anybody is beatable, and it does not matter how big you are, it’s how big you play,” Douma said.
The Lady Hawks head to Ft. Wingate on Saturday with all three teams in action beginning at 1 p.m. District actions begins Tuesday when Laguna-Acoma has its home opener against Estancia starting at 4 p.m.