I headed up to Albuquerque to photograph at the NM Juniors Chili Spike Qualifier last week–a last-minute decision I’m glad I made.
My primary goal was to photograph the El Paso Wildfire, a 17s team that plays in Division I. There is a large pool of talented players in El Paso, and the Wildfire has some of the best in the city on its roster; Alexia Heist (Eastwood), Caroline Brown (Coronado), Victoria Foster (Franklin) and Megan Dominguez (Chapin).
There are also some lesser-known players on the roster that will no doubt make their mark; Alysha Blanco, a 6′ hitter from Eastwood and Monica Corrujedo, an outside hitter that plays for Montwood. Monica is only 14 years old and was able to give players four years her senior all they could handle. With the right coaching, her potential is unlimited.
In addition to covering Wildfire, I also got photograph some other great teams in the area.
The NM Juniors 18 – Brad team is a who’s who of New Mexico volleyball; Samantha Brown (signed to Norte Dame), Kylee Terhune (ASU), Miquella Lovata (UNM), Darian Mullin, Jayla Trombley and Gatorade Player of the Year, Hallie Harton (Goddard).
The NM Juniors 16 – Marc team was also amazing. Lead by Julia Warren, Rachael Bradley and Brandi Torr, this team battled it out with the 18-Brad team in the semi-final, but lost after a dramatic third set. I’d have to say that along with the Wildfire–NM Jr 18 match in the finals, this NM Jrs 18- NM Jrs 16 was my favorite match of the day. Instead of trying to photograph the whole match, I watched and enjoyed the game.
For the championship match in the Gold Division, Wildfire was able to outlast the NM Juniors 18 – Brad team in three sets.