Freshman Jorianne Mirabal preparing to keep the Steers volley alive at the net.
Greg Byrd | El Defensor Chieftain


Magdalena Volleyball Tourney:

With the help of community members across the state, the Steers were able to put on their Magdalena Volleyball Invite tournament.

“Last year they pushed everyone’s schedule to the spring,” Athletic Director Jory Mirabal said. “Having this event again is great. From seeing friends from across the state to even seeing the kids enjoy burritos together. Those are things we haven’t been able to appreciate for a while.”

The 12 teams participating were host Magdalena, Socorro, Tularosa, Pine Hill, Lordsburg, Mesilla Valley, Mesa Vista, Carrizozo, Mt. Air, Animas, Reserve and Alamo Navajo. The Socorro Lady Warriors won the championship game at 6 p.m. Friday evening against Tularosa.

Socorro – The Lady Warriors came out strong, particularly during a matchup against the Animas Panthers. Seniors Jazlynn Armijo and Taelene Fowler created a seemingly brick wall at the net that frustrated Animas the entire match. On the back end senior Alex Peralta and junior Analyz Alderete were serving up dimes that made it tough for the Panthers when it came to volley’s. With the final set close at 21-19, the Lady Warriors were able to pull away, winning in straight sets.

“Our team continues to improve,” Lady Warriors Head Coach JB Mauldin said. “We’re at the point where we continue to adapt which is something all teams are going through right now. At this point in the season we just need to continue to focus on consistency, in particular on our sets and our hitting to start building points early. Fortunately we have a lot of seniors this year with experience that really gives us an edge when trying to control the net.”

After the early win the girls took to the lunch room for some much needed calories before the next round.

“Our team is definitely doing better than last year,” sophomore Tamra Fowler said. “This group is really starting to pick things up together as a family. Our team is hustling on every possession which should translate into success.”

As of press time the Lady Warriors currently sit at 7-1 with two matchups coming up this week, a home game against Deming 9/14 and a road trip to Quemado 9/17.

Magdalena – Coming into its home tournament, The Lady Steers were placed second in the group behind only Socorro. Their 2 p.m. game against Tularosa had the two seed facing off against the three. While the Lady Wildcats were a smaller team compared to Magdalena, the visiting team appeared to be much faster in covering the court.

This match featured an electric two person battle at the net. Magdalena senior Kenzie Silva and Tularosa freshman Kadence Kowatch were trading off spikes and blocks at the net the whole game. Silva was particularly good early on in defending tough volleys. Despite winning the first set, the Lady Steers fell to the Lady Wildcats. Magdalena then lost in the consolation game in the gold group to Animas.
Head coach Sara Sue Olney was glad to be back on the court after the previous pandemic plagued season.

“What we’re doing this season is way different than last year,” she said. “I wouldn’t say last year was a breeze but with schools closed the kids had more time to practice. Now they have a lot more things to juggle with school so we are still trying to find a good balance for everyone to succeed. We’re working on getting better every week and trying to stay focused.”

As of press time the Magdalena Lady Steers sit at 1-4 on the season with two home games up next, the first against Capitan on 9/14 followed by a district game against Corona on 9/16.

Alamo Navajo – The neighboring Alamo Navajo school were represented at the Magdalena tournament by their Lady Cougars. Alamo came in as the 10 seed and faced off against the 11 seeded Carrizozo Lady Grizzlies. The Lady Cougars came out on top, winning 3 of 4 sets to give the team its first win of the season.

Junior Hailey Apachito was all over the floor for the Lady Cougars with senior Ashia Key chipping in with key hits that frustrated the Lady Grizzlies defense. This Alamo team is on the young side. Key is the only senior on the nine person roster.
Danielle Gordon is in her first year as head coach for the Lady Cougars. Gordon has never coached before this season. She and the team are struggling with growing pains as they were not able to practice at all during the spring.

“It’s been difficult to catch up with the other teams,” she said. “Our school closed completely so we could not do a whole lot in order to get ready for the fall. All that we could do was online Zoom classes during the summer. A lot of the other teams are way ahead of us so far. We just need to stay positive and keep working hard as a team.”

As of press time, Alamo Navajo will travel to Menaul for a night game on 9/14. They follow that up with another away game against Evangelical Christian Academy on 9/16. The win against Carrizozo was their first of the 2021 fall season.


1A 3 District –

  1. Carrizozo 2-3
  2. Alamo Navajo 1-2
  3. Magdalena 1-4
  4. Clovis Christian 0-1

3A 3 District –

  1. Socorro 7-1
  2. Hot Springs 5-4
  3. Cobre 2-5
  4. Hatch Valley 1-3