By Dave Wagner
The Portales Lady Rams have been in this position before.
Winners of three of the past four Class 3A state volleyball championships, Portales is off to a 2-3 start against fairly rugged competition as it prepares for this weekend’s 16-team Zia Classic in Roswell.
“I think we’re coming along,” PHS coach Ruth Chavez said Tuesday of her relatively young squad. “We still have a ways to go.
“I know we have what it takes; we just have to get (the ability) to come out.”
Portales is matched with Roswell Goddard, Lovington and Los Alamos in Pool A of the tournament in Goddard’s main gym. The Lady Rams face Goddard at 11 a.m. on Friday, then take on Los Alamos at 12:30 p.m. and Lovington at 1:15 p.m.
Pool B at Roswell High’s main gym consists of Hobbs, Roswell High Hot Springs and Soccoro, while Pool C in the Goddard auxiliary gym includes Artesia, Moriarty, Aztec and Belen and Pool D in the Roswell High auxiliary gym has Clovis, Ruidoso, Lubbock High and Silver.
Each match in pool play will consist of two games to 15, with a cap at 20 points. The top two teams in each of the four pools, based on games won, advances to championship bracket play with the bottom two going into consolation bracket play Friday evening.
Semifinal and final-round matches are set for Saturday.
“It should be a good tournament,” Chavez said. “I know Goddard will be tough, and I think Los Alamos will have a good team.”
In addition to those Class 4A opponents, District 4-3A rival Lovington beat the Lady Rams in the season-opening Clovis Invitational.
Portales has been idle since beating Artesia in four games in its home opener on Thursday.
“We’ve been working hard and trying to take care of some little things,” Chavez said. “We’re trying to get our serve-receive and our defense more solid.
“It’s been a little bit of a struggle. It just takes some time.”
Lady Tigers post win — Elida improved to 3-1 for the season Tuesday night with a 25-23, 25-17, 17-25, 25-19 victory at Tucumcari.
Playing without senior outside hitter Adrienne Coe, who was away at the state fair, Elida coach Darrell Chenault said the Lady Tigers had to make several position shuffles for the match. Included was an eighth grader, Lindsey Smith, starting in Coe’s normal spot.
“Considering all that, we played pretty good,” Chenault said. “Our big girl wasn’t there, and we had to move two or three people around.”
Elida nearly let a 23-15 lead slip away before nailing down the first game, and stayed in control from there.
“We didn’t know how it would all work out,” Chenault said. “It was pretty big for us to win that first game.”
Elida swept the Lady Rattlers in junior varsity play 25-9, 25-18.