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

Portales edges Clovis in five

 

October 3, 2018

Kevin Wilson

Clovis sophomore Mikyla Harkley serves in the opening set of Tuesday's match against Portales at Rock Staubus Gymnasium.

CLOVIS — Beyond the terminology, the offenses and the rotation patterns, volleyball isn’t a complicated game. It’s serving, it’s passing and it’s momentum — and you won’t get the third unless you have the first two.

Portales created enough momentum to get a win Tuesday night at Clovis, but the host Wildcats built enough of their own to make the Rams earn it in a 25-19, 25-8, 20-25, 22-25, 15-7 victory at Rock Staubus Gymnasium.

“I think we kind of got it in our heads we had it,” Portales junior Abi Cameron said. “Instead of the confidence we’d had, we replaced it with cockiness. That got us behind. In that final set, our attitudes changed.”

Senior Taylee Rippee had 17 kills and five blocks, while Cameron served Portales through a 7-0 run that pretty much iced the fifth set for the visiting Rams (4-8) — roughly an hour after it looked like there wouldn’t even be a fourth set.

Portales trailed just once in the first two games to the host Wildcats (2-7), rushing out to a 6-2 lead in the first set and a 10-2 advantage in the second. Once the Rams iced the second game with a 5-1 burst, the 25-8 game seemed like the statement of the night.

Clovis, however, decided not to listen. The Wildcats took control of the second set with Brooklyn Hatley serving Clovis through a 6-0 burst. It was 19-8 Clovis before Portales rallied for five in a row, but the teams mostly traded points the rest of the way and Portales couldn’t seriously put a dent in the deficit.

Portales fought off another deficit in the fourth, using a 7-0 run to knot things at 17-17. But Clovis paved the path to victory with a 5-1 run that included a pair of Kameron Kelley kills.

“They started finding holes in our defense,” Portales coach Charity Gomez said. “We got behind, and we errored too much to get back into those games. It’s passing and serving. We got better at it in the end.”

A Kelley kill put Clovis up 5-3 in the deciding set, but it was all Portales after that — 12-2, including an ace from Cameron and back-to-back aces from Tiffany Ortega to end the night.

Kevin Wilson

Portales junior Abi Cameron sets the ball in the opening set of Tuesday's match against Portales at Rock Staubus Gymnasium. Cameron had 14 assists in the Portales victory.

Clovis, which got 10 kills each from Antanishwa Molett and Mikyla Harkley and nine from Madison Flygare, is at Amarillo Palo Duro Saturday.

“This is a good experience for us to go through, falling behind two games and coming back,” Clovis coach Ruth Chavez said, “because we’re likely going to be in other situations where we’ll have to fight back. Even if we didn’t win, it helps us to have this experience.

“It’s tough to come back from down two games. I’m proud of the girls for that.”

Cameron felt Clovis had made plenty of improvement since their meeting Sept. 4, which resulted in a Portales sweep.

“Their serve-receive was better,” Cameron said. “Last time they played us, they weren’t passing as well as they did tonight, and I have to commend Coach Chavez for that.”

The Rams will host Texico on Saturday. The teams met last Saturday in the Peyton Chavez Invitational, with Texico narrowly winning in five.

 

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