By Dave Wagner
It took the Moriarty volleyball team a while to settle in on Thursday.
Once they did, though, the Lady Pintos made short work of Portales High, rolling to a 21-25, 25-12, 25-15, 25-14 victory at the PHS gym.
Junior Leah Lovato had nine kills, eight digs and four service aces for Moriarty (7-3), which finished fourth in the Class 4A state tournament last year. Senior Jennelle Spradley and junior Tori Lopez each added five kills, and Spradley was also credited with five service aces, four digs and three blocks.
Moriarty coach Kim Bell said it took her players some time to get used to the midafternoon glare from the gymnasium windows and get their legs under them after a 3 1/2-hour bus ride.
“We had a little time to settle down (during the freshman and junior varsity matches),” Bell said. “We were ready. We knew we had to come in here and play a good match.
“We finally stepped up and started playing our game. I thought we played well once we got going.”
She also realized that the Lady Pintos probably caught Portales at less than its best.
“I saw them play in the Roswell tournament (earlier this month), and they’re a good team,” Bell said of the Lady Rams. “I don’t think they played up to their potential today.”
Portales (3-8), which lost in three games on Tuesday at home against Roswell Goddard, controlled most of the first game against Moriarty, but had only one brief lead — 2-1 at the start of the third game — the rest of the way.
Junior Morgan Hill led the Lady Rams with six kills.
“We played well in the first game, but we made a lot of costly errors after that,” PHS coach Ruth Chavez said. “One part of our game would be doing good, and something else would break down.
“We tried to play more aggressive at times, but we still have a long way to go.”
Portales beat Moriarty 25-13, 25-11 in the JV match and 25-19, 25-20 in the freshman contest.