The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Portales sweeps past Ruidoso


September 21, 2018

Eric Murray

Portales' Kinzie Davis passes the ball during Thursday's match with Ruidoso. Portales won 25-14, 25-13, 25-17.

PORTALES — It’s been tough sledding for Portales volleyball in 2018, as the team goes through a rebuild. However, the Rams got some relief on Thursday night, disposing off the winless Ruidoso Warriors in three sets, 25-14, 25-13 and 25-17.

“I thought we served well and passed the ball good,” Rams senior Taylee Rippee said. “We’ve gotten better, but we just have to keep practicing hard and getting better to keep going.”

It didn’t take much for the Rams (2-6) to get going against the Warriors (0-6), as Portales finished strong in each of its three sets. In particular, Rippee really attacked the middle of the Warrior defense, recording more and more kills down the stretch. In all, she had 14 kills.

However, it wasn’t just Rippee that impressed. Mattison Blakey had 21 assists, while Vanessa Villanueva had 15 digs. However, the aforementioned improvement in the service game was especially apparent Thursday night.

The Rams finished with 16 aces on the night, including five apiece from Blakey and Abi Cameron, plus, four more from Villanueva.

“We didn’t error as much as we had been,” Portales coach Charity Gomez explained. “That was something we talked about (on Wednesday). We talked about mindset and approach. I felt like that was something that was improved tonight. We talk about making easy balls look easy, and I thought we did a really good job with that.”

For the Rams, one of the big struggles has been their jump-serving. Gomez started experimenting a little bit with it last season, but decided to incorporate it across the Ram program for 2018 — and beyond.

“We’re trying to float it. If you jump it, a float is supposed to not spin. But if you hit it at a higher point, it’ll keep it in a line,” Gomez said. “I think they might have thought the jump was for velocity.

“It’s not for velocity — it’s for keeping the ball as flat as possible, so that if it floats, it kinda hangs up in the air and drops. It’s like a screwball in baseball. After our discussion (Wednesday), it looked like they were trying to float it more, as opposed to hit it hard. That was the difference in our serving tonight.”

Thursday marked the Rams’ first home game since Sept. 4, following a long road trip, which included the Moriarty Tournament. Portales will now stay home through the end of next weekend, capped off by the Peyton Chavez Memorial Tournament.

“We’re just learning every day,” Gomez said. “No one gets to see these kids day-to-day, like we do. We see a lot of improvement from day-to-day, and though it’s not translating to the matches right now, I think eventually it will.”


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