The Portales Lady Rams started slowly but finished strong on their way to a 25-21, 25-23 and 25-17 sweep over Artesia in a non-district match Thursday night in Portales.
Megan Kabrick led the Lady Rams with 12 kills and Kelly Parkey followed with 11. Kabrick had a strong first game when she pounded out six kills. Erika Cook collected five of her nine kills in game three along and also contributed five digs and one assist.
Kassandra Richards finished with 15 assists and Amy Archibeque added 11. Richards had a solid all-around game with four kills, four blocks and two digs. Amy Truelock led the defensive effort with six digs.
“They’re both (Richards and Cook) very good athletes,” Portals coach Ruth Chavez said. “Kelly stepped up well tonight. She had been struggling with her hitting during the season, but she didn’t have any hitting errors, tonight.”
Portales fell behind 9-3 in the first game and 8-2 in the second game before posting rallies to win each game. Chavez called a timeout with Portales trailing 9-3 in the first game and the Lady Rams responded by going on a 22-12 run. Morgan Hill slammed a kill that hit the court without an Artesia player touching it to seal the win.
The Lady Rams (9-10) stumbled early in the second game and Chavez called another timeout with Portales trailing 10-4. Once again the Lady Rams responded and went on a 21-13 run to win the second game.
“We talked about not making mental errors,” Chavez said. “We need to quit shanking the ball. We did not do a good job of receiving their serves. We had to get that under control and we did.”
Stefanie Sharrock drilled a service ace to push the Lady Ram lead to 24-22, then after a Lady Bulldog point, Richards set the ball to Kabrick to close out the game.
“We did have really slow starts, but we came together as a team and played better,” Kabrick said. “Our coach motivated us to play better. Playing against Clovis, Roswell and all the other teams helped us out a lot.”
Portales fell behind again in the third game before taking control of the game with a 15-9 run.
Jeannette Marquez led Lady Bulldogs (5-11) with eight kills, two blocks and two digs while Erica Martinez followed with four kills. Lacie Maloney led Artesia setters with six assists and chipped in four digs.
Portales goes back to district play on Saturday when it travels to Ruidoso to take on the Lady Warriors.
“We knew going into the game it was going to be tough for us,” Artesia coach Bobby Bates said. “We had a lot of emotion on the court and we were coming off a big win against Roswell. We are 2-4 in district play and we had to sit out two of our players tonight because of injury.”
Portales won the junior varsity game 25-18, 25-18 to push their record to 12-5.