The Portales Lady Ram volleyball team is heading into its district schedule with a win in their final tune-up, and raised more than $600 for a good cause in the process.
The Portales girls defeated Artesia in three games Thursday night, 25-17, 25-17 and 26-24.
“We needed a win,” Portales coach Ruth Chavez said. “It’s been a long time. We’ve played the powerhouses already. It’s hard to get beat week-in-and-week-out. We needed a win — we just needed it. We needed the confidence, we need to know that we are capable of winning and we need to remember what it felt like, because it’s been awhile.”
The Lady Rams also raised $629 for breast cancer awareness, as part of a statewide program “Volley for the Cure.” Several fans and both teams wore pink, and admission to the game was simply a donation.
Chavez was happy to have her Lady Rams participate in the fund raiser — in part, because Chavez lost her mother to cancer.
“This is a big thing,” Chavez said. “I told the girls, anytime you can take part in something like this, you should do it. Because it could be someone you know; it could be your sister or your mother. This is a big deal — it’s a lot more important than this game.”
After cruising in the first game, the Lady Rams fell behind the Artesia girls 6-1 early in Game 2, but Portales scored five consecutive points and seven of the next nine points to tie the game 8-8 — highlighted by two consecutive Brittney Gardner service aces.
Portales continued their run, winning Game 2 25-17.
After Portales took a fast 22-15 advantage in Game 3, Artesia scored eight of the next nine points to pull even, but the Lady Rams finished, with a 26-24 win, sweeping the match.
“Anytime you let a (match) go past three (games), you’ve opened a door,” Chavez said. “And anything can happen. I just think if you can get them in the first two (games) you need to go ahead and sweep the match.”
“We didn’t want to go to a fourth game because we were tired,” Portales senior setter Dallas Russell said . “We wanted to end it in three.”
The Lady Rams (6-10) begin District 4-3A action at home Tuesday against Dexter, before hosting Ruidoso Oct. 21.
“I’m glad that we were able to finish (this match),” Russell said. “But we have to work on a lot of things.”