Morgan Perkins (20) laces a ball inside the court as Jaylin Gonzales (1) backs her up.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain

Socorro volleyball coach Jaden Jones wants more focus from her team after the Lady Warriors came out flat in tournament play and lost matches 3-0 to Cottonwood Classical Prep and Hot Springs.

“We had a week off (10 days), and they didn’t come out hot like I thought they would,” Jones said.

It wasn’t a lofty expectation because Jones had been seeing hard work and positive attitudes. Still, with her team not playing up to its capabilities, it’s hard to judge how Socorro will fare in District 3-3A, where they will see Hot Springs again.

The Lady Warriors are 5-7 in Jones’ first season, and Socorro is flirting with greatness because volleyball officials have told her the team is solid.

“The refs came and told our girls, you know, after the game, you guys can play with anybody,” Jones said.

Now Jones’s task is to figure out how to translate what she is seeing in practice to the live matches after a long layoff – something Socorro faces again because the Lady Warriors’ next match isn’t until Oct. 10 in a road trip to Tularosa and Oct. 14 again at Highland.

It will be a solid three weeks before the Lady Warriors return to the home gym when they open district play against Hot Springs on Oct. 24. The most significant battle between now and then is figuring out how to translate that practice time to game action.

“For the team, it will be about keeping our practices like game-like situations. Today (Sept. 25), we practiced for about an hour, and I had them in their rotation. We’re pushing a little harder and making sure we are covering all the little things like drop balls and running,” Jones said.

Another part of Jones’ process in building her program’s culture with more team-related activities like eating out together so her players know each other away from the court.

“I know from playing in high school how you, maybe, you kind of butt heads with this teammate during the game. Doing things like going out to eat, you kind of get outside of the core of this atmosphere, and it lets you understand them as a person a little bit better, and it helps you to go out and build that relationship on the court too,” Jones said.

Tamara Fowler leads the Lady Warriors’ offensive attack with 74 kills, Davaeh Murrietta has recorded 43, Jaylin Gonzales has 35 and Lila Azar is at 24.

Azar’s 18 blocks lead the defense, and Murrietta has 17. Setter Kayana Acosta has 136 assists, and Gonzales is the team leader in digs with 52.