The Lady Steers are one step closer to the State Championships. They defeated the Mountainair Mustangs in four sets, 3-1.
Greg Byrd | El Defensor Chieftain


The Lady Steers are one step closer to the State Championships.

The first set and a half was not looking good, but October 26 was a big win for Magdalena. They defeated the Mountainair Mustangs in four sets, 3-1.

“I think that we’re so afraid to be in the position of being ahead that we can play uptight,” head coach Sara Sue Olney said. “As soon as we relax this team can really get things going which is what I saw here tonight.”

Magdalena fans came out ready for the late regular season showdown. The student section brought out flags and giant white horns. Several basketball players waved pom-poms as cheerleaders.

On the court, the Lady Steers rocked its black uniforms with Mountainair going white. Off the court Steers coach Olney was passionate on every single point, never afraid to call out or praise her players throughout the entire game. Mustangs head coach Sheldon Roberts was a far more stoic presence on the sidelines.

It looked as though the Lady Steers were not ready for a fight. The Lady Mustangs, who had the first serve, went on a roll to start. A 7-0 run silenced the crowd and made it 14-6, causing coach Olney to call timeout. In the huddle she emphasized communication.

A rejuvenated Lady Steers squad came out, tying things up 19-19. Sophomore Kambree Montoya was making big-time digs all over the court. It was not enough. Mountainair took the first set 25-21 with four of the final five points coming off unforced errors at the net by the Lady Steers.

In the second set it looked choppy for the Lady Steers once again from the opening serve. Then, three points down, Magdalena found its groove. Montoya made clutch dig saves. Senior Arianna Munoz Paez had a monstrous strike at the net. She flexed her muscles with the team, making it 25-13. The Lady Steers were on their way to a 25-15 victory in the set.

The Lady Mustangs would not go away. Mistakes by Magdalena kept the opposing team hanging around. Freshman Jorianne Mirabal, who had some key stops at the net, struggled on the serving end. Senior Kenzie Silva was running all over the court to make sure the ball stayed in play, often resulting in errant balls into the stands. It did not matter. The Lady Steers were too much with Mountainair falling 25-17 in the fourth off a strike by Silva.

“We weren’t hustling as a team early on,” Silva said. “Once we started talking more, had more energy, and had fun with it, that is when we got things going. The energy throughout the gym from the fans really made this win happen.”

With three games left, the Lady Steers look to solidify themselves as state championship contenders. A November 6 home game against the Vaughn Eagles will close out the regular season.

1A 3 District Standings:

  1. Magdalena; 10-8.
  2. Alamo Navajo; 9-8.
  3. Carrizozo; 8-10.