PNT Staff Report
RUIDOSO — The lines are clearly drawn for District 4-3A volleyball. At the top are Ruidoso and Portales, while Lovington and Dexter battle for third place.
Tuesday night, Portales faced off against the Lady Warriors in a battle of district unbeatens with sole possession of district first place on the line, and Ruidoso won in a thrilling five game match; 25-18, 25-22, 17-25, 11-25, 15-6.
“(Ruidoso) runs a very quick offense,” Portales head coach Ruth Chavez said. “It took us a while to adjust to that speed.”
After dropping the first two games, Portales (15-9, 3-1) fought back to take the next two games, forcing the tiebreaking fifth game.
“In the second and third games we just came out on fire and we were doing lots of things right,” Chavez said.
But Ruidoso (13-4, 4-0) took an early fifth game lead, on the way to winning the extra game 15-6 and taking the match, three games to two and handing Portales their first district loss.
“We came into that fifth game with the momentum, but we just made some errors — we pretty much beat ourselves in Game 5,” Chavez said. “A few little things didn’t fall our way. If we could have started faster, I think we would have taken that fifth game and the match.”
Chavez also singled out junior Tara Johnson for excellent play.
“Tara was amazing tonight,” Chavez said. “She made a lot of plays and played a very good match for us tonight.”
Chavez said after Tuesday’s match that she believes that Portales and Ruidoso are easily two of the best teams in the state.
The Lady Rams continue their District 4-3A schedule Tuesday hosting Lovington, before they get a chance to return the favor to the Ruidoso girls Nov. 3 in the district finale at Portales.
“It’s definitely anybody’s game right now,” Chavez said. “It’s going to be a battle when we play them down here, it really will be.”