By Dave Wagner
Staff writer 

Goddard tops PHS in finals


Last updated 10/12/2021 at 5:27pm

Jordan Alexander

Clovis' Ella Howalt serves during the pool play portion of Saturday's Clovis Invitational at Rock Staubus Gymnasium.

CLOVIS - Portales High's volleyball team got a first-hand look on Saturday night at quite likely its main competition in the upcoming District 4-4A race.

After reaching the championship match of the Clovis Invitational at Rock Staubus Gym, the Lady Rams struggled against district rival Roswell Goddard and absorbed a 25-18, 25-20, 25-13 loss to the Lady Rockets.

PHS (13-4) and Goddard (13-3) face off twice more this month, beginning with the district opener - the Lady Rams' next outing - on Oct. 19 in Roswell.

Despite the result, first-year Portales coach Jacki Bailey said she thinks her squad will match up when the time comes.

"I'm not disappointed one bit," she said in looking ahead. "I'm disappointed in how we lost, in our execution and, a little bit, our effort."

Portales had a hard time containing 6-foot junior middle blocker Sophia Valdez, who led Goddard with 11 kills and often created opportunities for her teammates with the attention she drew.

"She's hard for people to stop," Goddard coach and 2004 Clovis High grad Dewayne Roberts said of Valdez. "But we have so many weapons when we're on our game. We like to spread the ball around."

Meantime, Bailey said her team can play better.

"We made a lot of mistakes that are all fixable," she said. "I think we can play with Goddard."

Senior middle hitter Kylyie Paden notched 11 kills and two blocks for the Lady Rams (13-4), who trailed virtually all the way.

"We'll see them twice in district," Roberts said. "It's always a tough (match) against Portales, especially when you play them in Portales."

PHS led 2-0 and 5-4 in the opening set, but Goddard went on an 8-2 run to build a seven-point margin late. The Lady Rockets led the entire second set after a 1-1 tie, and steadily pulled away in Game 3 after going up quickly 3-0.

Earlier, the Lady Rams, who finished first in Pool A with a 6-0 record in games, claimed a 25-17, 25-23, 29-27 triumph over Socorro in the Gold Bracket semifinals. The Lady Warriors (14-3) went on to trounce St. Michael's 3-0 in the third-place match.

Paden had 14 kills, two blocks and four aces against the Lady Warriors (14-3). Senior libero Teagan Faust collected 31 digs in the match, while senior setters Riley Shillings (21) and Angelina Maestas (16) combined for 37 set assists.

Meantime, Clovis High finished third in Pool A at 2-4 and was relegated to the Silver Bracket, where the Lady Wildcats (6-11) swept Lovington 25-23, 25-15, 25-17 and Dexter 25-16, 25-12, 25-21 to claim fifth place.

"The girls played really well," CHS coach Darrel Ray said. "We had a good tournament.

"We came together as a team. We played our style of volleyball, and it was fun to watch."

The CHS junior varsity filled in as the eighth team in the event. The Lady Cats were 0-6 in pool play, but topped Dexter in three sets in the consolation semis before losing their finale against Lovington in three.

Clovis began District 4-5A action this week, playing at Carlsbad on Tuesday night before heading to Hobbs on Thursday.


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