By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
The Ruidoso Lady Warriors claimed District 4-3A’s top seed in Portales Saturday afternoon and left no doubt in sweeping the Lady Rams in three games 25-22, 25-15, 25-22.
“(Our girls) are ecstatic. To come in here and win in three on their court — it’s just awesome,” Ruidoso head coach Steve Brown said. “I don’t think we’re the top two teams in the district,” Brown said. “I think we’re the top two teams in the state.”
The first game was the most competitive of the three, with both teams claiming leads throughout, but the Lady Warriors scored three-of-four points down the stretch to win the game 25-22.
“Game 1 was such an emotional game and such a fast game when they lost, I think they came out in Game 2 flat. I think it took them awhile to get back up. We’ve been really focusing on trying to take that Game 1 because I think that makes a big difference,” Portales head coach Ruth Chavez said. “We just made too many errors in a row,” Chavez said.
Ruidoso jumped out to a fast 11-5 lead in the second game, before reeling off 14 of the final 24 points to win Game 2 25-15.
“The second game we just didn’t come as pumped as we were (in the first game),” Portales senior setter Dallas Russell said. “We just had too many errors in a row.”
The Lady Warriors built a 23-16 advantage in the third game, before the Lady Rams went on a run of their own, scoring six of the next seven points, but Ruidoso held on.
“In Game 3 we started out good,” Chavez said. “But we let them get a few things on us that we couldn’t make up for. We waited too late.”
“We scheduled this game on the very last day of the year specifically so we could play each other and push each other,” Brown said.
“That first game is big time,” Chavez said. “Especially when the crowd is like that. You’re fired up, you’re excited and you lose a big game like that, that close — I just thought they let their emotions down after that first game.”
Lovington will face Dexter in the first round of the District 4-3A tournament Tuesday, with the winner traveling to Portales Thursday. Ruidoso hosts the district championship Saturday night.
“We have to focus on coming back Thursday and playing well and then going down there (to Ruidoso),” Chavez said. “We can get this team. We can get this team. We just can’t have a letdown, not with a team like this. You can’t have a down game because they are a team that just does not make a lot of mistakes.”
“We’re going to be so excited,” Russell said. “We can’t wait.”