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

Rams sweep Clovis for first victory


September 8, 2019

Kevin Wilson

Portales junior Ally Bridges dives to keep the ball alive in the third set of Tuesday's match at Rock Staubus Gymnasium in Clovis. The Rams swept the host Wildcats 25-13, 25-18, 25-10.

CLOVIS — A Portales/Clovis rivalry clash is always fun, something to look forward to for players, coaches and fans.

It’s even more fun still for the team that wins those clashes. And in the case of Tuesday night’s volleyball match at Rock Staubus Gymnasium, Portales was the team having the most fun.

Though each set was hotly contested early, the Rams were able to take control in each of them and rolled to a 3-0 sweep of Clovis — 25-13, 25-18, 25-10 — for their first victory of the young season.

“We’ve been talking a lot about executing a lot of the things we’ve been working on in practice — working on some of our hitting stuff, our transition stuff,” Portales head coach Charity Gomez said. “And we just really executed it well tonight.”

For the Lady Wildcats, who finished their second match of the season still in search of their first win, they learned and grew from the defeat, saw improvement from their opener against Artesia.

“A little better. Our goal is we get a little better each game,” Clovis head coach Ruth Chavez said. “I thought we passed better tonight and our serving was better until that last set. We struggled hitting the ball, though, like we did last time (against Artesia), and that hurt us. But I was pleased with our passing. We were scrappy, we just have a long way to go. We’re an inexperienced team with a long way to go.”

Tuesday’s first set began with a 2-0 Portales lead, but was quickly tied 2-all by Clovis. That was the first of five ties early on in the set.

After the Lady Rams broke out of the fifth tie (7-7), it was the start of four straight Portales points that made it 11-7.

Clovis closed to within 11-9, and after Portales won the next point, the Lady ’Cats pulled to within 12-10. The Lady Rams, though, won four straight to go up by six, and their lead never shrunk below five again for the remainder of the set. In fact, after the ’Cats won a point to make the score 16-11, the Rams won eight consecutive points to put themselves on the brink of winning the set.

A Portales service error made it 24-12, and then Wildcats junior libero Camryn Barros kept her team alive with an ace. But a Rheagan Courtney kill closed it out for the Rams, giving them a 1-0 set lead.

Teagan Faust started Portales off well in the second set with an ace. And after Clovis tied it 1-1, a Kinzie Davis point lifted the Rams back ahead.

Clovis tied it again before Portales then won the next three points in a row. The Lady Wildcats soon shaved their deficit down to 5-4, but drew no closer as the Lady Rams never allowed them to tie it again, nor did they relinquish the lead at any point in the set.

After Portales had built a 24-15 advantage, Clovis hung on yet again. A Skyler Jordan kill brought the Lady ’Cats within eight, a Portales return hit into the net made it 24-17, and a Tabatha Gallegos ace brought Clovis within just six.

The Rams, however, then closed it out to go up 2-0.

The third set began with a Kameron Kelley ace to give Clovis the early lead. And after Portales tied it at 1, a Rams service error handed the Wildcats a 2-1 edge. That, though, was the last time Clovis led in the set or the match. Portales tied it 2-2, went up 3-2, Clovis tied it 3-3, and then the Rams took a 4-3 advantage and never trailed again. They won three straight points, five of the next six to go up 8-4, and were on their way to a 25-10 victory to sweep the match. Adrianna Garcia’s kill finished it off for Portales.

A nice win for the Lady Rams, another challenge for the Lady Wildcats. Both teams headed into this weekend’s Moriarty Tournament with items to be addressed.

“I still think our attacking can improve,” Gomez said. “I know we had a ton of service errors (Tuesday), so we’ll try to minimize those service errors.”

“We’ve got to go back to work every day,” Chavez said, “and see what we can do.”

Over the weekend, Portales played in the Moriarty Invitational, winning their first two matches via sweep. The Rams topped Lovington 27-25, 25-11, 25-21 on Friday, then dispatched tournament host Moriarty Saturday morning 25-20, 25-19, 25-17.


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