Goal: Get back to the top

By Eric Norwood Jr.

PNT staff writer



Tony Bullocks: CMI staff photo
Portales senior Kristen Wagner goes low for a dig during the Lady Rams’ scrimmage against Texico Saturday in Clovis.

There really aren’t too many new goals for Portales High School volleyball coach Ruth Chavez. After appearing in nine AAA championship games since 2000 and winning five state titles, the goal for this year is as clear as ever; a 10th title game appearance and a sixth title.

“My No. 1 expectation is that we win a state championship,” Chavez said. “Every single year that is our goal, regardless of what we have (coming back).”

Portales finished 14-9 last season and lost to eventual state champion Pojoaque in the state semi-finals last year for its earliest exit since 2008. Add in that Portales’ last title was 2007, and Chavez admits to getting impatient.

“It’s been a while since we actually won, but it’s time to bring that trophy back,” said Chavez.

Portales returns eight seniors to this year’s squad, including two-time all-state selection Kristen Wagner at outside hitter. Wagner has played since her freshman year, and and has been playing varsity since ninth grade. Now her sights are set on one accomplishment she hasn’t achieved; a state title.

“I want to be a threat to every team we play, and I really want to work with the team to win a state championship,” said Wagner.

Getting past Pojoaque seems necessary, with the Elkettes winning the last four titles — three of them against Portales — and eliminating them each of the last four years. Chavez said to get over the big hurdle, it requires working on the little things.

“We want to really be better students of the game,” Chavez said. “You have to study the game to be a great player. When you are a student of the game you can do a lot of things regardless if you have the most ability. Smart will go a long way.”



Tony Bullocks: CMI staff photo
Portales senior Karimah Hulett prepares to serve the ball in the Lady Rams’ volleyball scrimmage against Texico on Saturday at Clovis. PHS opens its 2013 schedule at home today with a 7 p.m. match against Hobbs.

2013 Schedule
Aug. 27    Hobbs     7 p.m.
Aug. 31    Santa Fe Indian     1 p.m.
Sept.3    Roswell     5:30 p.m.
Sept.6-7    Moriarty Tournament    TBD
Sept.10    Clovis     7 p.m.
Sept.17    Goddard     7 p.m.
Sept.24    Roswell      7 p.m.
Oct. 1    Goddard     7 p.m.
Oct. 4-5     Peyton Chavez Tournament    TBD
Oct. 8    Artesia     7 p.m.
Oct. 15    Texico     7 p.m.
Oct. 17    Lovington*     7 p.m.
Oct. 19    Artesia     7 p.m.
Oct. 22    Ruidoso *    7 p.m.
Oct. 24    Clovis     7 p.m.
Oct. 31    Lovington*     7 p.m.
Nov. 2    Ruidoso*    7 p.m.
Nov. 8-9    Class 3A First Round    TBD
Nov. 14-16    Class 3A State Tourmanet    TBD

Home matches in bold.
* District 4-3A match

2012 Record: 14-9
Top Returners: Kristen Wagner, Simone Laurenz, Pari Cox, Valerie Villanueva, Savannah Vincent.
Head Coach: Ruth Chavez (27th year, 14th as head coach).  Five state championships (2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007), four state runners-up (2002, 2009, 2010, 2011)

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