The Lady Ram volleyball team swept Lovington in both district matches this fall, and they’ll have to beat them once more tonight to have a chance to win the District 4-3A tournament championship.
Despite the team’s success against Lovington (9-12, 2-4 District 4-3A) and with district top seed Ruidoso awaiting the winner, Portales head coach Ruth Chavez is making sure the Portales girls (11-9, 4-2 District 4-3A) don’t look past tonight’s district semifinals against the Lady Cats (9-12, 2-4).
Chavez said the girls studied game tapes Wednesday in advance of tonight’s match.
“We watched a lot of games to kind of prepare what we’re doing and get ready,” Chavez said.
“We’re really excited,” junior hitter Alexis Orcutt said. “We’ve practiced really good this week and we’ve come together as a team. I think we’re going to be just fine.”
Orcutt explained that the Portales hitting suffered against the Lady Warriors, and they’ve got to get it back before advancing in the postseason.
“(Loosing to Ruidoso twice) was kind of hard on our confidence, but I think we’ve gained it back now,” Orcutt said.
Both coaches and players are making a point to guard against over confidence, knowing that the temptation to look past Lovington could result in an upset.
“That could happen if we get big heads,” Orcutt said. “We don’t want that, so we’ve got to keep our heads where they need to be, and I think we can.”
“We will go in confident, but not over confident,” Chavez said. “Volleyball is a crazy game. Anything can happen, so our thought is we are going to go in confident that we can play our game and win.”
Chavez also expects a big home crowd to make a big difference tonight.
“It helps a lot,” Chavez said. “Lovington is such a big rivalry — especially with our boys, it could get interesting. Our boys have supported us well.”
During the district schedule, the Lady Rams swept both matches against Dexter and Lovington, but were swept twice by district top seed Ruidoso. The Lady Warriors await tonight’s winner in Saturday’s District 4-3A championship in the mountains before the state volleyball tournament is seeded later this month.
“The reason we got beat by Ruidoso was our fault. We made so many errors that we made (Ruidoso) look pretty good, although I know they are very good. I’m not taking that away from them,” Chavez said. “We’re just going to have to play confident.”
“We’ve been working really, really hard this last week,” Orcutt said. “Getting beat really showed us that we need to work harder, and we’ve done that.”