By Mickey Winfield: PNT sports writer
Dexter Lady Demons, welcome to New Mexico District 4-AAA volleyball.
The Portales Lady Rams dominated in winning their district opener against group newcomer Dexter, Tuesday night at Portales High School three games to zero, 25-11, 25-16 and 25-12, in a match that lasted just 42 minutes.
“We didn’t really know what to expect from Dexter,” Portales head coach Ruth Chavez said. “We wanted to come out and get our first (district) win and make sure that we played our game.”
The defending state champion Lady Rams wasted little time in dispatching Dexter in both teams’ district opener.
The Lady Rams took control early in the first game, taking a 20-7 lead, before the Dexter girls won five of the next six points, but Portales won the final three points to win the first game 25-11.
Dexter took their first lead of the night early in the second game, 6-5 before the Portales girls won five straight points, highlighted by kills from freshman outside hitter Jenna Wagner and senior Briana Hernandez. The Lady Rams won 12 of the final 15 points in the second game, to win 25-16, and take a two games to none lead.
Dexter went on an eight point scoring run early in the third game, to take a 10-7 lead, but Portales completed the sweep, winning 18 of the last 20 points to win the third game 25-12.
“It was a great opportunity for us to get some of our kids in that are going to need some time, in case we need them later on down the road,” Chavez said.
One of those young kids, Chavez was able to get into the game was Wagner. The freshman outside hitter produced three out of eight kills in her first significant playing time of the season.
“I think I did pretty good,” Wagner said. “My hits were on (target), and I just need to keep working hard, become a smarter hitter, and just keep at it.”
Chavez also liked what she saw from Wagner.
“She did really well, she’s just a freshman, the more time I can get her — the better, because there’s times when we’re going to need her, so I thought she had a great night,” Chavez said. “She started out a little nervous, but after she got a big hit—she was fine. She can play with those girls, she did really great.”
Junior outside hitter Bethany Self led the Lady Rams with 16 kills, while sophomore Dallas Russell led with 14 assists. Senior Amanda Terry led the defensive charge with 16 digs.
Over the summer, Dexter was moved up to District 4-AAA. Dexter head coach Sally Knight was impressed by the Portales girls, and said her team may be out-matched in class AAA.
“Portales is always the best in this district, and we know that, and it might motivate (our girls) to work harder,” Knight said. “We’ve been struggling in AA for like, four years, so it’s not like we’re winning all these titles in AA. We’ll just do the best we can, hopefully it’ll make them better. They’ll either work harder, or we’ll get beat a bunch.”