By Kevin Wilson
Megan Kabrick was in the unusual position of playing as a freshman last season, largely because she was tall.
Now, the 5-foot-11 sophomore is in the lineup not to cover up the Portales Lady Rams’ lack of height, but to anchor a front line that made all of the difference in Saturday’s District 4-3A opener against Ruidoso.
Kabrick had 13 kills, and the host Lady Rams were never challenged in a 25-18, 26-24, 25-22 victory over the Lady Warriors.
Portales (7-10, 1-0) trailed at the start of each game against Ruidoso, but never lost control in a match that lasted just over an hour. Kabrick and fellow sophomore Morgan Hill blocked Ruidoso hitters on defense and unleashed a quick-hitting attack on offense.
“They’re difficult to stop, especially if you haven’t seen them all season,” Portales coach Ruth Chavez said of the team’s quick sets, “and we’ve got two girls that can run them.
“Megan Kabrick stepped it up. She’s really looking good for us right now.”
Still, the middle blocker is looking to improve with every match.
“I need to work on not being so timid,” Kabrick said. “If it’s my hit, I don’t want to be timid and look upon other people to do the job for me.”
Ruidoso (6-6, 1-0) took a 3-0 lead early in the first game, but senior Amy Archibeque served Portales through a 9-0 run and the Lady Rams never looked back.
Portales stayed aggressive on offense throughout, between quick-hits from Kabrick and Hill and tip kills from Kelly Parkey. Hill provided the exclamation point late in the third match, slamming down a kill for a 23-18 lead after being denied on her first hit.
“Offensive, Portales is quicker,” Ruidoso coach Maria Bennett said. “We’re just not quick enough to stay with their quick sets, but we’re going to work on it.”
Hill had five kills, and combined with Kabrick for six blocks.
“We’ve practiced setting up the block almost every day,” Kabrick said. “We’ve all worked so hard on that and I think it really helped.”
Portales goes on the road on Tuesday to face Lovington, while Ruidoso hosts Robertson on Thursday.