By Mickey Winfield: PNT sports writer
The Portales Lady Rams took another step toward defending their class AAA state championship Tuesday night in a three game victory over Lovington at home, 25-11, 25-11, 25-16.
Portales head coach Ruth Chavez said it was a total performance by the Lady Rams.
“I thought they played well, because it’s really easy in a game like that to play down, and not be up, they ran the ball well, they passed, they served aggressive they hit the ball,” Chavez said. “They tried to do different things at the net that we’ve been working on, so I thought they played well, they played up to their potential.”
The Portales girls dominated from the start, taking an early 7-2 lead in the first game, on their way to a 25-11 score.
The Lady Rams jumped out to a huge lead in the second game, 13-2. The Lady Wildcats turned it on, and scored eight of the next nine points, to trail Portales by four points. But the Portales girls won eleven of the last 12 points to win the second game, 25-11.
The Lovington girls led 4-2 early in the third game, before Portales went on a 19-4 run, completing the sweep and winning the third and decisive game 25-16.
Chavez singled out the Portales defense and sophomore setter Dallas Russell for her performance, leading the Lady Rams with 21 assists.
“All of our defense was really good, I thought that Dallas was amazing, she was just something else,” Chavez said. “She did some amazing things tonight, I thought she was just incredible.”
Russell, however, was modest.
“I didn’t really have a good game today,” she said. “I just didn’t feel like I did so great, but our hitters are good, they can hit anything.”
Chavez also credits team communication for the total performance.
“They talked, and they knew exactly what was going on,” she said. “Communication in this sport is everything. If you don’t talk, you have a hard time winning. They’re really a close knit team and they talk all the time, they know exactly what they’re doing, where they are and who they can trust.”
Portales (15-5, 3-0) begins the second half of their district schedule Thursday at Dexter, before hosting Ruidoso Tuesday.