The Questa Lady Cats are on a roll – winning eight of their ten matches played in the last twenty days and seven in a row since Sept. 15. The current streak is a refreshing rebound since their 0-3 start to kick off the 2017 campaign.
Included in the string of wins are three important victories over District 5-2A rivals Mora Rangerettes and Escalante Lady Lobos – two volleyball programs that have maintained the top two spots in the league since the assemblage of current teams from Mora, Peñasco, Escalante, Mesa Vista and Questa in 2014.
Questa also defeated the Mesa Vista Lady Trojans, 3-0 in home match Oct. 5
Questa has played in a total of 44 sets in 12 games thus far and has won 27 for a winning percentage of .614. The Lady Cats are averaging an outstanding 22.9 points per set with a total of 934 points won this season. Their highest point output came in the first set against Cimarrón, when Questa scored 30 points in an overtime loss to the Lady Rams Sept. 12. The Lady Cats’ lowest point production came against the McCurdy Lady Bobcats, when they scored just nine points in the final (short) set Aug. 23 – the only time the Lady Cats have been held to single digits in the last 16 matches dating back to Oct. 15, 2016.
Escalante vs. Questa
As far as parity is concerned, the back-and-forth series of the Lady Cats and the Lady Lobos has produced several memorable matches dating back to 2007. In that time period and over the course of 22 matches, 10 have gone the full five sets. Questa owns the decadelong series 11-9 with two unknown outcomes in 2007 and 2009. Since the two teams became part of the same district in 2014, the series has evened at four wins apiece with neither team sweeping the other in any of the relevant years.
This year’s matchup was another nail-biter, as the district opener for both teams went the full five sets with Questa emerging as the victor 3-2 at home in the “Mini-Pit” Sept. 28. Dropping the first set 26-24 in overtime, the Lady Cats answered with a 25-21 win in the second set. The Lady Lobos grabbed the advantage back by winning the third set 25-19. The resilient Questa netters bounced back to win the fourth set 25-19 and the fifth and deciding set 15-7.
The exciting win set the stage for a showdown with the Mora Rangerettes – a team third-year coach Michelle Spears (or Questa’s previous coach, Jennifer Vialpando) had yet to defeat.
Mora vs. Questa
It has been more than six years since a Questa Lady Cat volleyball team has defeated a Mora Rangerette team. Specifically, the last time Questa beat Mora was Sept. 16, 2011 – barely nipping at the decadelong series record against the Rangerettes, which stood at 2-16 since the 2007 season. In that forgettable stretch, Questa was “skunked” (losing by a score of 3-0) eight times and lost 3-1 six times. There were only two matches that went a full five sets.
This time, it was the Lady Cats who would do the skunking – toppling the defending Class 2A state champions 3-0 at the “Mini-Pit” Sept. 30.
The match began on shaky ground with the aggressive Rangerettes surging out to an 8-3 lead in the first set. Questa was able to claw back, however, with strong defense and picture-perfect passes, sets and spikes. Seniors Arianna Spears, Larissa Passino and AnnaMarie Sanchez teamed up to deliver forceful blows from both the inside and outside positions to tie the game at 9-9. The Lady Cats never looked back and bested Mora 25-19, 25-14 and 25-22.
Mesa Vista vs. Questa
The lone match for the Lady Cats this week was a home affair against the Mesa Vista Lady Trojans. The game was originally scheduled to be played in Ojo Caliente, but was changed to accomodate homecoming activities this week in Questa.
Spears and company took care of business quickly, trouncing the Lady Trojans 25-14, 25-13 and 25-10.
The three key district wins give Questa an 8-4 overall record and 3-0 in districts – making the team a force to be reckoned with as it settles some historic blemishes and paves the way for some impressive precedents.
Next up for the Lady Cats is a home game against the Peñasco Lady Panthers Oct. 12. Approximate start time for the varsity game 5:30 p.m.
District tournament games are slated to take place Nov. 1-4.