Lady Cats finish season at state tournament, get ready for hoops

Members of the Questa Lady Cats volleyball team lock arms in solidarity inside the "Mini-Pit" in this undated photo. The Lady Cats made it into the state volleyball tournament with an impressive 12-8 overall record but were eliminated by the ninth ranked Hagerman Lady Bobcats 3-1 in the "round of 12" at Rio Rancho High School Nov. 9. Back row, standing left to right are: Melissa Mascareñas, AnnaMarie Sanchez, Larissa Passino, Anastacia Gonzalez, Arianna Spears, Marisa Vialpando and Sasha Martinez. Front row, kneeling left to right are Santana Cintas, Kiana Passino, Alexis Padilla, Mikayla Chavez and Arianna Ortega. Courtesy Photo

For the first time in her tenure as head coach of the Questa Lady Cats, Michelle Spears made it into the state volleyball championship tournament. The invite was due to the Lady Cat’s overall regular season record – which improved in 2017 to 12-8 (.600 win percentage) and 6-2 (.750) in district play, and Questa’s strength of schedule. This final record included district and state tournament games and was the best finish thus far for Spears who completed her third-year as head coach.

A strong run through league play put the Lady Cats on the top of District 5-2A standings for most of the monthlong section of their schedule. A unexpected loss to a surging Peñasco Lady Panther team on the road Oct. 28 dropped Questa out of the top spot – boosting both Peñasco and Escalante’s standing. Though all three teams had identical 6-2 records in district play, the Lady Cats tumbled two spots because of the final set count (comparative wins and total set losses).

In the district tournament, Questa played against the Mora Rangerettes in the quarterfinal match – handily winning 3-0, Nov. 1. The Lady Cats returned to Jicarita Gymnasium in Peñasco, for the semi-final match Nov. 2, but fell to the Lady Panthers 3-0. Despite the third place finish in both the regular season standings and district tournament, Questa was invited into the state tournament as a number 11 seed.

In pool play at Rio Rancho, the Lady Cats were grouped with the number two seed Ramah Lady Mustangs and the number seven Pine Hill Lady Warriors. Emerging as the third place team in their respective pool, Questa was paired with the Hagerman Lady Bobcats in bracket play Nov. 9. Hagerman came away with the 3-1 win – knocking the Lady Cats out of the tournament and ending their 2017 campaign.

Many of the Lady Cats volleyball players also suit up for Coach Steve Rael and the basketball team, and have already begun to the prepare for the start of the 2017-18 winter sports season.

Questa played their first basketball game against the McCurdy Lady Bobcats after this section went to press Nov. 14.

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