BISBEE — After an 0-2 start, the Bisbee volleyball team has put together a three-game winning streak, knocking off the San Miguel Vipers three sets to two Saturday, improving their record to 3-2.

Bisbee lost the first set 25-16, won the second and third sets, 25-22, 25-17, lost the fourth 25-18 and took the fifth and final set, 15-7.

The Pumas were without their head coach Joni Giacomino, who missed the match due to a previous commitment. Filling in for her was Alonzo Tapia, who for the past two years has been a volunteer assistant coach at Bisbee. He was an assistant volleyball coach at Douglas High School.

“I’ve been waiting for a long time for an opportunity like this,” Tapia said. “To be able to coach these girls was amazing. Taking the reins today felt really good. I felt really loose and comfortable. Since I’ve been here, everyone has been so welcoming. I’ve made connections with all the players. They have been so trusting with all the information I have for them. I’m having so much fun coaching these girls.”

In the first set, it seemed the Pumas were still asleep as San Miguel jumped out to a 10-4 lead and led 20-5 late in the match. Down 24-8, Celli Noriega began serving for Bisbee and directed a rally that saw the Pumas score eight straight points, pulling within eight at 24-16. An out-of-bounds hit on the ensuing point gave the Vipers the win for the first set.

“I was surprised as to how much we were down,” Tapia said. “I don’t know what happened, I felt we had a great warmup. I also knew that once we got going and made the adjustments, we’d be OK.”

In the second set, San Miguel jumped out to an early 9-3 lead. Down 12-6, Bisbee scored four straight points to pull within two at 12-10. An ace by Lucy Gonzalez-Vasquez pulled the Pumas within one at 19-18, and an explosive kill by Gabby Lopez tied the match at 19-19. Moments later, another Bisbee kill by Lexi Lopez gave Bisbee its first lead of the afternoon at 20-19. Bisbee would go on to take the second set, 25-22.

Gabby Lopez had 18 kills, four blocks and two aces; Wright had four kills, three blocks and 33 assists; Lexi Lopez, seven kills, five blocks and three aces; Gonzalez-Vasquez, five kills and three aces; and Tubby Martinez, 11 digs.

Tapia said all the players contributed, but Gabby Lopez with her 18 kills and Wright’s 33 assists, had to be the match highlights.

“This was a good win for us,” he said. “I’m happy we were able to pull it out. We have a good team. We just need to keep it going.”

Bisbee is playing three matches in three days this week, beginning Tuesday, Sept. 21, with a road match at Immaculate Heart in Tucson. On Wednesday, Bisbee hosts Tombstone and has a rematch Thursday with Valley Union in Bisbee.


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