Portales takes crown

By Mickey Winfield: Freedom New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE — Portales is once again championship central when it comes to Class 3A state volleyball.

The Lady Rams defeated Las Vegas Robertson Saturday afternoon at the University of New Mexico’s Johnson Center in four games, to solidify and cement Portales’ state volleyball legacy in recent years.

“(Our seniors) wanted it. We’ve got six seniors that have been with us since they were about eight years old, and we wanted our seniors to finish the year at the top of this,” Portales coach Ruth Chavez said.

Last season, Bethany Self was part of a Lady Ram squad eliminated in the semifinal round, and this season she wanted more.

“I was tired of second place,” Self said. “Tired of second — ready to go home with the blue trophy. I’ve been waiting for this and dreaming about it my whole life.”

Chavez’ teams have taken five of the last eight Class 3A state volleyball titles, but if you ask her, it’s all about the girls and their families.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the girls in Portales, New Mexico, and that’s what it’s all about — not me. It’s them,” Chavez said. “They work hard and they have amazing parents. When you have kids like I do, you know they come from good people and that’s what makes them so successful.”

Self had her own ideas.

“Portales has some hard-working girls and we love to get first place,” Self said.

Chavez also believes the character of her team as well as their experience played a huge hand in this state championship.

“The difference was the maturity level of our team because they’re so young. (Robertson is) going to be a heck of a team, but we have the experience, I think Bethany (Self) really came through for us. Our experience helped us,” Chavez said. “We’ve got a lot of loud, aggressive kids with good leadership. You can’t win games like this without good leadership.”

Senior Jordan Roehl already has a state championship in the shot put, but wanted more.

“I always wanted a state championship in volleyball and finally I got one,” Roehl said.