By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer
The Portales Lady Rams seem to be peaking at just the right time, as District 4-3A play looms.
The Lady Rams swept the West Las Vegas Lady Dons in three games in a rare afternoon match at Portales High School, Thursday; 25-19, 25-20 and 25-23.
Portales head coach Ruth Chavez said it was hard for both teams to adjust to the odd 5 O’clock start time.
“I thought it was a pretty good effort, they played hard,” Chavez said. “It’s weird playing at this time of day, I could feel the difference there, but I thought they learned how to pull it out and made some good decisions.”
Portales senior Briana Hernandez agreed, and said the Portales defense was a big part of the win.
“This was one of our best defensive games,” Hernandez said. “We had a few mistakes here and there, but we picked it up.”
The Portales girls dominated the early stages of the first game, accumulating an early 12-4 lead. West Las Vegas rallied to 12-11, but Portales used a 10-2 run to put away the game.
West Las Vegas took control early in the second game, taking an early 4-1 lead, before the Portales girls scored nine of the next eleven points to take a 10-6 lead. The two teams traded scoring runs, until the Lady Rams took five of the last six points to win the second game, 25-20.
The third and final game was much closer, with no runs higher than three consecutive points. The Portales girls put together two such runs, including the final three points, to win the third game 25-23, and the match 3-0.
Junior outside hitter Bethany Self led the Lady Rams offense with 22 kills, while sophomore Dallas Russell assisted 24 times. Hernandez led the defensive effort with 24 digs.
Both Chavez and Hernandez were concerned with containing West Las Vegas’ senior outside hitter Mary Joe Bustos.
“Their always a good strong defensive team, and the Bustos girls have been good for them,” Chavez said.
“I thought we did really good,” Hernandez said. “I had heard a lot about Mary Joe Bustos, and she really didn’t do as well as I thought, so we just played our game, and we did it.”
“They’re always solid, they’re always a good strong defensive team,” Chavez said. “To get a sweep off a real good solid team is always good.”
Portales begins district play Tuesday night at home against district newcomer Dexter.