ALBUQUERQUE — The defending Class 3A state champion Portales Lady Rams overcame the loss of three players to food poisoning Thursday to advance to the state tournament semifinals at Manzano High School.
PHS finished third in four-team Pool B, splitting six games, then outlasted Pool A runnerup Shiprock 19-25, 25-20, 25-22, 23-25, 18-16 in a quarterfinal matchup.
The Lady Rams (7-15) meet West Las Vegas (20-2) in the first of two semifinals at Manzano, scheduled for 5 p.m. today. The Lady Dons swept Socorro 25-11, 25-14, 25-16 in Thursday’s second quarterfinal.
Late matches on Thursday pitted Thoreau against Ruidoso and St. Michael’s against Hot Springs. Those two winners square off at 7 p.m. today.
The championship match is at 11 a.m. Saturday at Johnson Gym on the University of New Mexico campus. Portales has won three of the past four 3A titles, finishing second in 2002.
Juniors Megan Kabrick and Michaela Alexander and freshman Whitney Miller were unable to play due to food poisoning from something they apparently ate before the team left Portales on Wednesday, coach Ruth Chavez said. She said their status for today’s match was uncertain.
In addition, junior middle hitter Morgan Hill turned an ankle in the first game of pool play and returned only for the quarterfinal match.
“We played the game of our lives through a lot of adversity,” Chavez said. “(Senior) Rachelle Self stepped up and played well; she gave us some great leadership.”
Freshman Bethany Self, Rachelle’s sister, played all the way around for the Lady Rams with Kabrick out, and Rachelle Self filled her sister’s normal rotation on the front row. Hill had a team-high 11 kills in the match despite her ankle injury, while Bethany Self added eight kills and Rachelle Self had five.
Portales trailed 9-1 in the fifth game against Shiprock (16-9), but rallied to tie the score 13-13. The Lady Rams scored the final three points of the match, the last coming on a service ace by junior Rebekah Gonzales that clipped the net and fell into Shiprock’s court.
In two-game pool play matches Thursday morning, Portales defeated Hot Springs 15-13, 15-12; lost to West Las Vegas 15-9, 15-12, and split with Thoreau 10-15, 15-13.
State tournament scores
The Associated Press
Des Moines def. Logan 25-17, 22-25, 25-16, 25-15
Fort Sumner def. Grady 25-12, 25-16, 25-8
Jal def. Mesilla Valley 25-18, 15-25, 25-21, 26-24
Tatum def. Animas 25-11, 25-9, 25-12
Estancia def. Eunice 25-14, 23-25, 25-11, 22-25, 15-12
Hatch Valley def. Questa 25-12, 25-12, 25-12
Ramah def. Mora 25-14, 25-19, 25-15
Sandia Prep def. Pecos 25-18, 25-9, 25-15
Portales def. Shiprock 19-25, 25-20, 25-22, 23-25, 18-16
Ruidoso def. Thoreau 25-19, 23-25, 25-14, 25-21
St. Michael’s def. Hot Springs 25-21, 25-23, 25-23
West Las Vegas def. Socorro 25-11, 25-14, 25-16
Deming def. Onate 17-25, 25-23, 25-14, 25-23
Goddard def. Los Alamos 25-23, 25-23, 25-23
Moriarty def. Farmington 25-17, 25-19, 25-15
St. Pius def. Piedra Vista 25-21, 25-21, 26-24
Cibola def. Sandia 21-25, 21-25, 25-16, 25-21, 15-6
Las Cruces def. Eldorado 25-17, 25-21, 25-20
Mayfield def. Manzano 25-5, 25-10, 25-15
Rio Rancho def. Santa Fe 25-19, 25-15, 25-21