By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer
Portales coach Ruth Chavez knew that hosting the undefeated Goddard Lady Rocket volleyball team would be a good test for her defending state champion Lady Rams, and it was.
The Lady Rockets (9-0) defeated the Portales girls (7-4) in four games Tuesday night in Portales; 25-19, 23-25, 25-22, and 32-30.
Chavez said despite the defeat, her girls passed the test.
“We knew how we were going to match up to them, was going to give us an idea of where we were as far as the season,” Chavez said. “I thought we had times where we looked really good.”
The first game was a contest of scoring runs. With a 6-3 lead early on, the Lady Rockets took the next six out of seven points to take a commanding 12-4 lead. The Portales girls then went on a run of their own, taking five consecutive points to climb to within three points, but the Lady Rockets reeled off five straight points to take a 17-9 lead. The Goddard girls won the first game 25-19.
“I thought in our first game we struggled, we started out with our serve-receive terrible, they got three big kills on us because we over passed the ball,” Chavez said. “That first game hurt us.”
The Lady Rockets opened the second game with an 8-4 lead, but the Portales girls fought back late in the game to 21-21, aided by several service aces from senior Ella Erf. The Lady Rams won four of the next six points to win the second game 25-23.
Coach Bobby Bates’ Lady Rockets started strong in the third game as well, taking an early 7-3 lead accented with a strong service ace from senior Laura Fry, but Portales battled back, stringing together six out of eight points to an 11-11 tie. The teams traded points before the Lady Rockets took the final two points to win the third game, 25-22 and took a two games to one lead.
Portales began the fourth game very strong, taking a 12-4 lead, with the aid of several Bethany Self kills.
“It took us a while to adjust to their blockers, but we got it after a while,” Self said. But the Goddard girls put together six straight points to get to within two points at 12-10, the Lady Rockets followed that up with six of the next eight points, to take their first lead of the game, 21-20. Points flew, as the teams traded several leads late in the game, before the Goddard girls finally took a 32-30 lead and the win in the marathon fourth and final game.
Junior outside hitter Self led the Lady Rams with 19 kills.
“I think we’re just as good as they are, and we all have good hitters and we both have really good teams,” Self said.
Chavez agrees, but believes her girls missed opportunities.
“I think if we played more consistent all the way around (we could have won). We had opportunities in that fourth game and just didn’t take advantage of them.”
The Lady Rams travel to Artesia Thursday.