Senior setter Koolonna Apachito stretches out for a dig against Hondo.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain Photos

The Lady Cougars of Alamo Navajo are on an eight-match winning streak after blanking Hondo Valley 3-0, a score that matches their District 3-1A record.

Alamo started with a 2-5 mark, but the Lady Cougars haven’t lost a game since Sept. 24, the day the winning streak started with a 3-1 over Tohatchi in tournament play.

During a pregame interview, coach Danielle Gordon was straight to the point about what she wanted to see from her team, which now has five shutout wins in a row.

“Go for the win, for sure,” Gordon said. “I want the girls to work hard and not underestimate the other team. We’ve improved immensely over the last month. Watching the improvement from the start of the season to now has been incredible. They’ve grown so much.”

Gordon is taking Alamo to new heights, and a 3-0 win against Magdalena is believed to be a first-ever win for the Lady Cougars over the Steers.

Freshman Alvina Apachito passes the ball as Elliana Guerro looks on.

Serving might be the most considerable improvement Alamo has made since last month’s Magdalena tournament, and senior Koolonna Apachito is a power-hitter capable of curving the volleyball and landing it with placement and speed.

Pino was on target in the first set and rolled the Lady Cougars out to an 11-1 lead, and Alamo posted a quick 25-12 win.

The Lady Eagles rebounded their offense and made it closer in game two, but Alamo wasn’t going to be denied and posted a 25-21 victory.

Like most young teams, confidence can come and go, and when mistakes are made, they tend to come in small bunches.

“We’ve got to work through our frustrations. We could have won by more,” Gordon said. “But they came together and worked it out.”

Alamo is still dealing with communications problems, but it’s facemasks rather than a lack of focus and concentration that mainly causes the problem.

“One obstacle is our face masks. It’s hard to hear each other. The girls are really shy too. So, they don’t want to scream or anything,” Gordon said. “It’s hard with the mask. I’m always pulling mine down to yell because I know they can’t hear me if I have it on.”

The Lady Cougars have been strong enough to go on a 15-game winning streak with five straight shutouts.

Gordon likes to mix up her lineup, and she depends on her entire team for contributions. Elliana Guerro, Tiana Apachito, Jada Guerro, Hailey Apachito, Sapphira Sandoval, Koolonna Apachito, Claire Apachito, Katelyn Stockham, Kah-Liyah Vicente and Alvina Apachito are all in the regular rotation.

Keeping the Lady Cougars on the path will mean keeping their frustration levels low.

“Toward the beginning of the season, the frustration was hurting us. We are 10-5 now, and the five losses that we have probably been because of getting down on ourselves,” Gordon said.

Gordon has a great resource on her bench, with her mother, Barbara Gordon, on the assistant’s chair. A long-time coach, Barbara, serves as Alamo’s athletic director and wears multiple hats.

“Mom retired from coaching right before I went into high school,” Gordon said. “Having her here is nice, and I get to bounce ideas off her. It’s great to have her as a sounding board, too.”