It was a night of mixed emotions on Tuesday (Oct. 29) when the Taos volleyball team hosted district rival Los Alamos in their last regular season home match of the season.
The bad part was that the Lady Tigers lost in straight sets to the Lady Hilltoppers due to some costly mistakes and the strong spiking power of the Los Alamos players. It's Taos' ninth straight loss this season, and the team now sits at 7-12 overall and 0-7 in Class 4A District 2 standings.
The good part, however, was that Tuesday evening's match acted as senior night for three Taos volleyball players and one manager. Ashlynn Sanchez, Lauralee Trujillo and Taylor Miller all played in what is likely their final home game.
Trujillo said that she's been playing volleyball for five years at Taos dating all the way back to her eighth-grade year. She said that volleyball has been an important part of her life and that she's enjoyed her time playing the game, especially with the teammates she cares for so much.
When asked what she will miss most about playing volleyball for Taos, Trujillo kept it simple - but meaningful.
"I think the people I met and the coaches that coached me," Trujillo said through teary eyes.
For the three seniors, it was a night of laughter and tears - and the energy in the gymnasium surely played along to that tune as well. The stands were filled with parents, friends and family -- and their support was evident.
But in the end, when it came to match time, that didn't matter much as Los Alamos proved to be a dominant force from the first set until the last.
And the Lady Hilltoppers got started right away, too. Natalie Gallegos, on the first possession, spiked the ball with force toward the Taos players and made sure that her presence was known. Gallegos was key for Los Alamos in that first set, helping her team get out to an early 7-0 lead before Taos had any chance to create something on offense.
Throughout the first set, it remained all Los Alamos too - though there were a few positive moments for the Lady Tigers. Down 24-15, Madelynn Quintana spiked the ball toward Los Alamos. It wasn't necessarily a moment that boded a comeback by any means, but it was a moment for Taos that proved to the Lady Hilltoppers that they can still play.
Still, though, Los Alamos took the first set 25-17.
Los Alamos got out to an early lead in the second set, but Taos didn't shy away. The closest Taos had gotten the score in the frame was when Quintana scored two straight points for the Lady Tigers - the last point being a spike toward the Lady Hilltoppers' side - to shorten Los Alamos' lead to 16-11. But Los Alamos prevailed and went on to win the set 25-18.
Clearly beaten, the Lady Tigers didn't show the same sparks of charisma they had in the previous two sets and dropped the third and final set to Los Alamos, 25-13.
Trujillo said that for her team to win the last match of the season when they go on the road to face Española Valley, they need to be at full health and content with where they're at this season.
"We always have injuries or something always seems to be going bad for us," Trujillo said. "And now our team is healed and ready to go. And I think this last game we're going to give it our all. … We're going to fight until the end."