By Kevin Wilson
In the matchup between sister cities, big sister won yet again.
The visiting Lady Wildcats struggled at times, but had enough in the tank for a 25-11, 28-26, 21-25, 25-17 win over Portales Thursday evening at Portales High School.
Clovis earned a season sweep of Portales (3-0) and moved to 10-1 on the season, with one match left before District 4-5A play. Portales dropped to 4-7, with its third loss in four matches.
“This isn’t where we want to be,” Portales coach Ruth Chavez said, despite having some satisfaction in giving Clovis a tough match. “We want to be a lot better than this.”
The Lady Wildcats took an easy win in the first game, but ran into some trouble closing out the second game. Clovis led Portales 23-17 late in the second game, only to see a block by Portales’ Kelly Parkey spark an 8-1 run.
Portales had a pair of game points, but both were wasted thanks to a kill from Aimee Hilburn and a block from Monique Walker.
Walker helped rally Clovis to a 2-0 lead, with two consecutive blocks for scores and a kill on game point.
Both coaches thought the second game was the pivotal point in the 90-minute match.
“We were concerned because we didn’t feel like in game two we played very well,” Clovis coach Darrell Ray said.
“I think Portales did a good job of rebounding after game one. Portales was out of sync in game one, we were out of sync in game three. We just got lucky in game two.”
Chavez attributed her team’s first-game struggles to intimidation against the Class 5A school.
“Every time we play Clovis, we tend to play with fear, because they’re a bigger school and it’s a little scary,” Chavez said. “Once we calmed down, we came back pretty strong.”
Portales pulled away from a tight third game with an 8-1 run, then staved off a late Clovis rally to take a four-point win.
The Lady Wildcats jumped out to a 16-7 lead in the fourth game, and never looked back. Ray said that once Clovis got its passing in sync, things got a lot easier for the offense as the Lady Wildcats could run fakes and quick hits to keep the Portales defense off-balance.
“You can see what the girls can do if it’s anywhere close to the target,” Ray said. “We get it within five feet, it’s lights out.”
Walker led Clovis with 13 kills, while Parkey paced Portales with eight.
Clovis will face Hobbs on Tuesday, followed by its district opener against Eldorado on Saturday. Portales goes on the road next week, for a Tuesday match at Roswell and a Thursday match at Moriarty.
Portales won the junior varsity match 25-11, 25-15.