Lady Rockets knock off Portales in three games

By Tony Parra

The consensus from coaches and players for Portales three-game loss to Roswell Goddard was the Portales Lady Rams’ inability to receive serves.
The visiting Lady Rockets (6-3) claimed a 25-18, 25-21, 25-21 victory against Portales (3-6).
“We had a lot of service errors,” Portales coach Ruth Chavez said. “We fought back and got in a run, but when we got service errors it ended the run. We had trouble with the first pass to the setter. When we don’t have a good first pass it affects the offense. You struggle. It affects the setter and it affects our hitters.”
Portales raced out to a 6-1 lead in the first game, but Goddard bounced back to cut the deficit to 7-6 on the strength of Alana Miller’s jump serves. Still, Goddard had its share of errors on service — the Lady Rockets had four service errors in the first game and 10 for the match.
“We’ve been working on jump serves,” Goddard coach Eric Zamora said. “I’d rather us not hit it into the net, but I wanted the girls to serve aggressively. They’re (Portales) a young team so we wanted to put the pressure on them.”
Goddard took a commanding 18-10 lead in the second game and held off a late Lady Ram run to win. The Lady Rockets blasted out to a 12-6 lead in the third game, but Portales rallied to take a 17-15 lead. However, the Lady Rockets finished off the Lady Rams with a 10-4 run.
“We had problems with our service receive,” junior Ashlea Richards said. “We were not focused on that. We do good in our practices, but in the game we freak out. I think our blocks weren’t set. I touch the ball on every sequence, so I’ve got to be able to pick (up) my teammates.”
Richards led the Lady Rams with 14 assists, seven digs, and one block. Megan Kabrick led the team in kills with six and Rachelle Self followed up with five.
The Lady Rams have lost against Class 4A and Class 5A teams such as Goddard, Roswell High and Clovis.
“We got into a slump and we couldn’t get out of it,” Self said. “It really has been a learning experience (playing 4A and 5A teams). We’ve played some really good 4A and 5A teams, but it makes us better.”
Morgan Hill was out due to sickness, but coach Chavez said more than likely the junior hitter will be back in time for the Lady Rams’ next match, which will be against the Roswell Lady Coyotes on Sept. 21 in Portales.
“It kind of hurt us,” Chavez said. “We had to change around everything to fill the positions.”
The Portales JV squeaked by in the first game, 25-23, but dropped the next two games, 25-18 and 15-9 to lose the match.