By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
While children were running house-to-house on Halloween night trick-or-treating, the Dora Coyotes and Melrose Buffaloes were battling game-to-game in the District 3-1A volleyball quarterfinals.
After losing two of the first three games at home, Melrose won the fourth game and jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the tie-breaking fifth game. The Buffaloes held on to beat Dora 17-25, 25-15, 22-25, 25-20, 15-8.
Melrose head coach Sonja Moyer said her team was without seniors Toni Burdine and Lauren Graham (at a national FFA convention) all of last week and Moyer said that hurt team chemistry a bit.
“Our girls had a little trouble getting going,” Moyer said. “We didn’t play bad, but it was hard for everybody to get back on the same page.”
“We finally, in the fifth game, started coming around, but that’s too long in a volleyball match to come around,” Moyer said. “I never doubted my girls. I worried a little, but my main concern was how was I going to get them excited.”
As it turned out, it only required a few laughs.
“Actually in the huddle, my seniors stepped up and they cracked a little joke. Our team is real good with their little jokes; that kind of change the mood and they cracked a little joke and boy we went out there — anybody would tell you we looked like a completely different team from the first four matches. We were on, we were hitting, everybody was going strong. Nobody was conservative, they were just ready to get it over with.”
First-year Dora coach Mal Webster liked what she saw from her team.
“(They played) very well. That’s probably the best game they’ve played in those first four sets and then that last one they just fell apart,” Webster said. “We spotted them nine points before we decided we wanted to score. That last one just killed us.”
“We were two evenly matched teams, and I think the last game just showed who wanted it more,” Webster said.
Melrose travels to Elida for the District 1A semifinals today (6 p.m.) with the winner moving on to Fort Sumner Saturday night for the district championship.
Elida defeated Melrose 3-1 in both district matches this season.
“It’s a head game with us and Elida,” Moyer said. “Our main goal tomorrow is just mental and making sure we walk in there relaxed to have a good time.
“Elida’s a good ball team and they always have been. They’re real aggressive and go for everything, so we just have to make sure that we’re ready to go and they don’t get the best of us.”
(Seeds in parentheses)
(4)Dora def. (5)Floyd 3-2
(3)Melrose def. (4)Dora 3-2
(3)Melrose at (2) Elida, 6 p.m.
Championship at (1) Fort Sumner, 5 p.m.