ALBUQUERQUE — The defending Class 3A state champion Portales Lady Rams overcame the loss of three players to food poisoning Thursday to advance to the state tournament semifinals at Manzano High School.
PHS finished third in four-team Pool B, splitting six games, then outlasted Pool A runnerup Shiprock 19-25, 25-20, 25-22, 23-25, 18-16 in the quarterfinals .
The Lady Rams (7-15) meet West Las Vegas (20-2) in the first of two semifinals at Manzano, scheduled for 5 p.m. today.
Late matches on Thursday pitted Thoreau against Ruidoso and St. Michael’s against Hot Springs. Those two winners square off at 7 p.m. today.
The championship match is at 11 a.m. Saturday at Johnson Gym on the University of New Mexico campus. Juniors Megan Kabrick and Michaela Alexander and freshman Whitney Miller were unable to play due to food poisoning from something they apparently ate before the team left Portales on Wednesday, coach Ruth Chavez said. She said their status for today’s match was uncertain.
Also, junior middle hitter Morgan Hill turned an ankle early in pool play and returned only for the quarterfinal match.
“We played the game of our lives through a lot of adversity,” Chavez said. “Rachelle Self stepped up and played well; she gave us some great leadership.”
Freshman Bethany Self, Rachelle’s sister, played all the way around for the Lady Rams with Kabrick out, and Rachelle Self filled her sister’s normal rotation on the front row. Hill had a team-high 11 kills in the match despite her ankle injury, while Bethany Self added eight kills and Rachelle Self had five.