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

Prep volleyball: Rockets sweep Rams


October 28, 2018

Kevin Wilson

Portales' Aaliyah Austin dives for a short serve in the third set of Thursday's match against Goddard.

PORTALES — Following a whirlwind career in high school and college athletics that took him from playing on Eastern New Mexico’s first men’s soccer team to a volleyball head coaching position at Sul Ross State, Dewayne Roberts figured he’d left it all behind and settled into an administrative job at New Mexico Military Institute.

But like so many before him, Roberts found he missed the game more than he thought, and a position at Goddard with a talented roster was too tempting to pass up.

Portales got a first-hand look at the talent on the floor and the sidelines, as the Rockets moved past Portales 25-18, 25-14, 25-17 Thursday at the Ram Athletic Center.

The Rockets (10-7, 3-1) trailed at times, but always managed to find ways out — including when they closed out the match with a 13-2 run in the third set.

“At the start of that third game, our passes were not very good,” said Roberts, a former assistant at ENMU under both Mike Maguire and Sia Poyer. “They got a five-point lead because of it. Once we figured that out we got a lot better and played how we know how to play.”

The 6-footer lineup of junior Sophie Price and seniors Valerie Martinez and Vittoria Price was solid even without stellar play from 5-foot-10 sophomore Lacie Schooley. It was evidenced in the post-game numbers, with Portales posting no blocks and no player with more than four kills on offense.

“They’re tall and long, and automatically they give us a disadvantage,” Portales coach Charity Gomez said. “We have some height and some length too, but that’s not the type we see often.

“I thought we handled them well. Good teams are going to get kills, and that’s volleyball.”

Portales (4-12, 1-3), looking for every win it can get to keep its state tournament hopes alive, was able to stay with Goddard when it was serving well and gave up the biggest runs when it wasn’t.

Goddard took control of the second game when a serve out of bounds ended a 3-0 Portales run that had cut it to 9-8. The Rockets ran off the next seven points, and mostly rode Vittoria Price kills to the win.

Portales built a 12-10 lead in the third off a Taylee Rippee kill, but had three service errors that gave Goddard points the rest of the night. Vittoria Price and Emily Herrell served the Rockets to a pair of 6-0 runs to set up match point. The Rams survived the first match point with an Alexis Ryen kill, but Schooley iced it on the ensuing Portales serve with a kill.

The Rams close out the regular season with road matches Tuesday at Artesia and Thursday at Lovington.


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