Lady Ram head coach Ruth Chavez expected Ruidoso to be Portales’ main competition for the District 4-3A volleyball crown — after Tuesday night, she appears to be right.
The visiting Ruidoso girls swept Portales 27-25, 25-23 and 25-17 to take sole possession of the district lead.
“(Ruidoso’s) experience took over,” Chavez said. “We made some errors we shouldn’t have made. I really believe that if we took care of those errors, it would have been a whole different game.”
The Lady Warriors jumped out to an early 7-2 lead in Game 1, then winning six of the next seven points to lead 13-3. The Lady Rams then went on a 17-7 run, highlighted by a handful of Jenna Wagner kills to tie the game at 20-20, before Ruidoso claimed the win, capped by two Amber Gardner service aces.
“We came back (in Game 2) and we could have had them,” Portales freshman hitter Macy Mitchell said.
After an early 2-2 tie in the second game, the Lady Rams reeled off six consecutive points, capped by two Dallas Russell service aces, to take control at 8-2. Ruidoso then got onto a roll of their own, winning the next five points and controlling the rest of the game.
“I was really impressed with how we came back,” Chavez said. “I think we had both of those games in our hands, and we probably could have taken them.”
Game 3 was a series of runs, and those runs favored the Lady Warriors. After the Lady Rams earned a 3-0 lead, Ruidoso (13-3, 4-0 District 4-3A) scored the next seven points. Ruidoso won 11 of the next 14 points on their way to earning the sweep.
“In the third game we had some hitting errors,” Chavez said. “We just played timid. When you play timid, you’re going to make errors. We were tapping the ball at them, and they were pounding the ball back at us. We’re going to fix that.”
“In the third game we just starting tapping (the ball),” senior setter Dallas Russell said. “We didn’t hit as hard as we could, and our serve-receive wasn’t very good.”
The Lady Rams (8-9, 2-1) travel to Clovis Thursday, before resuming district play at home Tuesday against Lovington. The Lady Rams travel to Ruidoso for the rematch and district finale November 1.
“We’re not that far away from where they are,” Chavez said. “We have three weeks to work hard to see if we can catch them.”
“It’ll be a battle, but I think we’ll get’em,” Russell said.