Counting Lovington’s three service errors and Portales’ four service aces, the host Rams had a figurative 8-0 first-game lead without so much as a kill, dig or pass.
The other 67 points weren’t too difficult to come by, either.
Host Portales dominated the serve-receive game, and most everything else in a 25-10, 25-22, 25-17 victory in Monday night’s District 4-3A game.
Lovington led twice in the one-hour match — both one-point leads — and spent most of the night digging its way out of holes — 13-5, 12-2 and 13-4 to start the three games, respectively.
The Wildcats did make Portales (9-6, 2-0 district) sweat out the second game, ripping off an 11-1 run to push the score to 23-20. But Lovington followed with three hitting errors on the next four points.
“It basically came down to hitting errors,” Lovington coach Edith Taylor said, noting 26 hitting errors on the evening, “(and) we just needed an extra break in that second game.”
Junior Amanda Marquez had three of her six aces in a 6-0 run to break open the first game. Portales got two more aces in the first game, while Lovington (6-10, 2-1) gave up three more points with service errors.
“Serve-receive’s a big part of the game,” said Portales senior LeAnne Blaeser, who had two of Portales’ 10 service aces on the night. “If you can’t get to pass the ball, hitters don’t get the ball and it’s hard to start the offense.”
Chavez echoed Blaeser’s sentiments, noting most of the Rams’ wins and losses have come down to serve-receive. But she felt another key was a concerted effort to quicken the offense with Jenna Wagner (10 kills) and Macy Miller (nine kills).
“I think our offense was fast and really good,” Chavez said. “If people haven’t faced it before, it’s a tough adjustment to make.”
Wagner had three of her kills to help Portales open an 8-2 third-game lead, and Marquez and Blaeser each had aces late in the third to hold off any chances of a Lovington comeback.
“Amanda had some great long service runs,” Blaeser said, “and our hitters just put it down tonight.”
Portales stays home with a match Thursday against Dexter. Lovington was led by Sarah Reid’s seven kills.
In the junior varsity game, Portales defeated Lovington 25-18, 17-25, 15-13.