By Dave Wagner
Portales High sophomore Morgan Erf is making a big jump this season for the Lady Rams volleyball squad.
Coming up from the freshman team last year, the defensive specialist is adjusting to life on the varsity for the defending Class 3A state champions. But she said it’s not that big a deal.
“That was my goal,” she said. “It’s been fun. It’s a lot different, faster-paced.
“I played with the varsity over the summer. At first I was a little nervous, but I’m over that. I’m confident I can do it, and my teammates have helped me be confident.”
The Lady Rams, off to a 1-3 start, host Class 4A Artesia tonight at the PHS gym in their home opener. The varsity match follows a junior varsity contest, which starts at 5 p.m.
Portales struggled a bit in the season-opening Clovis Invitational last weekend, going 1-2 in bracket play, before losing in four games on Tuesday at Roswell High.
Erf, though, thinks the team can benefit from a match like that.
“It kind of helps us in a way, to know what we need to work on,” she said. “It shows us that we need to work harder.”
PHS coach Ruth Chavez isn’t that concerned about her team’s early record. She knows it’s a relatively young team, and the competition is designed to put the Lady Rams to the test.
“Roswell High was a good team,” Chavez said. “They’re better than I’ve seen them before.
“We did some good things. We struggled with our hitting at times, but it’ll come around.”
Former Roswell Goddard coach Bobby Bates is now at Artesia, and Chavez said she has plenty of respect for him.
“Any time Bobby Bates is coaching, you’re going to have a good team,” she said. “They’ll be fundamentally sound.”
This summer, Erf recalled, he helped with a camp in Portales.
“He’s a really good coach,” she said. “They’ll be a good team — but I think we can beat them.”
Senior right-side hitter Rachelle Self twisted an ankle during Wednesday’s practice. She had originally hurt the ankle last week in practice, Chavez said, and her status for tonight’s match was uncertain.