By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
Portales volleyball coach Ruth Chavez says her girls haven’t peaked yet, and at the midway point of the Lady Rams’ district schedule, she hopes they begin to play at their highest level as the state tournament approaches.
The Lady Rams stayed undefeated in District 4-3A Thursday night at the Portales High School gym, topping the Lady Demons of Dexter in four games; 25-21, 25-14, 24-26, 25-11.
“We still have four weeks until the state tournament,” Chavez said. “We’re still working. We’re not peaking, we’re not at the top of our game yet, so four weeks is a long time. If we work hard, we can get prepared for that.”
Portales looked to be on cruise control in the first game, building a dominating 22-14 lead before the Dexter girls scored seven-of-eight points to get within two points, but the Lady Rams held on to win the first game 25-21.
The home team began the second game on a tear as well, but this time the Lady Rams kept their big lead the entire game, winning 25-14.
Dexter (12-5, 0-4) kept the third game close all the way to the end, with neither team gaining more than a three point advantage, and with a 25-24 lead, Dexter sophomore Lindsay Brown fired a serving ace that hit the top of the net, and Dexter survived to win Game 2, 26-24.
The Lady Rams (15-8, 3-0) seemed determined to win Game 4 and the match, as Portales put together an 18-5 lead, thanks to several Bethany Self kills, winning the fourth game 25-11 to beat Dexter three games to one.
“I was a little disappointed that we didn’t win it in three (games),” Self said. “But I think that just shows that we always have to work our hardest. We can’t settle for just anything.”
“We’re going to work on (finishing a match),” Chavez said. “There’s always that concern because we should have taken this in three (games). We let it get too close.”
Chavez also had high praise for the Lady Demons.
“I thought Dexter played well. They played the best game I’ve seen them play. They didn’t play that well when we played (in Dexter).
They kept hitting the ball at us,” Chavez said. “They’re getting better. They have to because they’re playing up a class, and that’s tough.”
Portales’ victory over Dexter sets up a District 4-3A showdown between undefeated co-district leaders Ruidoso and Portales Tuesday night in Ruidoso.
“Everyone says they’re the team to beat,” Self said. “I know we can beat them, we just have to play our game and we can do it.”