Lady Rams struggle at Clovis Invitational

Eric Butler: PNT Correspondent

If the Clovis High volleyball team can become as consistent as Kim Perkins’ serve, this just might be a pretty good year for the Wildcats.

Clovis and Portales were among 16 teams in the field when the annual Clovis Invitational volleyball tournament began on Friday. The host ‘Cats won their four-team pool and then swept Academy 25-19, 25-11, 25-16 in a quarterfinal match

Portales, however, struggled in a pool that included St. Michael’s, El Paso Bel Air and Moriarty, winning only one of its six games in the morning. The Rams redeemed themselves somewhat by sweeping Class 3A rival West Las Vegas 25-14, 25-23, 25-17 in their lone regular match of the day — albeit in the consolation round.

For Clovis (1-1), seven aces from Perkins was one highlight of the victory over the Chargers. The 5-foot, 7-inch senior at one point late in the second game of the Academy match registered aces in four out of five points to give Clovis a 24-10 lead.

“She has a real quick arm, but last year we didn’t know if it would be under the net or against the wall or in the court. She’s serving now — she’s done a real good job of staying focused and knowing her attack points,” said Clovis coach Darrel Ray of Perkins’ serve, which several times handcuffed Academy players in the quarterfinal.

“If you watch it from behind, you can see how much movement it truly has.”

Aimee Hilburn led Clovis with 11 kills while Brittany Blackmon and Siobhan Flatow each added six. Blackmon, from her middle position, also blocked five Chargers’ shots for points.

“Morale’s higher, everybody’s excited. We’ve got a lot more potential than we had last year,” Flatow said.

“They’re a good team, huge potential,” Academy coach Elizabeth Green said about Clovis. “They’re big girls and they can swing at the ball.”

Clovis will play Santa Fe in one semifinal today while Tatum takes on St. Michael’s in the other.

Portales’ struggles in the morning pool play were somewhat resolved in the afternoon. The Rams’ best pool performance was a split with fellow Class 3A power St. Mike’s, but Portales then lost two games apiece to Bel Air and Moriarty.

“I think, this morning, we really didn’t talk at all,” said Portales senior Megan Kabrick after the victory over West Las Vegas. “I think that was just it — we didn’t really talk really well together.

“This afternoon, man, we were out there and we were just going at it. We were talking like there was no tomorrow,” she said. “That helps, that helps a lot.”