DEMING – Ken Leupold is familiar with Lady Wildcat Volleyball. The long-tenured teacher/coach held the head varsity job back in the early 2000s. “It’s truly a rebuilding year, with three returning varsity players,” Leupold said. But that’s the way he likes it.
The 2021 varsity was senior-laden but struggled to maintain consistency through an 8-14 overall record and a 1-11 District 3-5A slate. Deming High will no longer compete at the Class 5A level and has been dropped into Class 4A where they are expected to be at a higher competitive level against Chaparral, Santa Teresa, and Silver High of Silver City.
The trio of Lady ‘Cats coach Leupold will build around are senior Moniqa Enciso (5-10), junior Brizella Baeza (5-9) and senior senior Victoria Baca (5-9). “All three played in the middle last year and they will move out to the posts this season,” Leupold said.
Expected to run a 6-2 offense, Leupold will need to find two setters who are mobile, strong and possess soft hands. Junior Amanda Santistevan (5-6), sophomore Noely Mondragon (5-5), Sophomore Rebecca Munoz (5-6), and senior Rheganne Cabrera (5-6) are getting a look at those filling roles.
Past Lady ‘Cat programs were forced into a defensive posture and had little chance to mount any consistent attacks. Coach Leupold is trying to change that mentality and put the Lady ‘Cats in an offensive mindset.
The roster competed in a round-robin tournament July 14-16 at Moriarty High School where they won three of 12 abbreviated matches. “We saw a lot of volleyball and worked on some things that we can build on in practice,” Leupold said.
The Lady ‘Cat’s varsity assistant coach is Jonathan Leupold, son of head coach Ken Leupold. The junior varsity coach is Bryanna Davis and C-team coach is Samantha Flores. Seventh- and eighth-grade coaches are Natalie Nicoll and Pam Wertz, respectively.
Coach Leupold is hoping his 2022 varsity approaches the drop in class as an opportunity to prove something and not an opportunity to relax against the smaller schools.
“Our non-district schedule still includes the Las Cruces schools and the Sweet 16 Tournament,” he told the Headlight. “We want to use our non-district schedule to get better each time on the floor and be ready for our district schedule. The girls are putting in the work and it should reflect in our matches.”
The Lady ‘Cats will open the season at home on Aug. 23 against Socorro High School. Match times are at 5/6/7 pm
Bill Armendariz can be reached at 575-494-5059 or email@example.com.