RUIDOSO – Volleyball sweeps aren’t always a blowout.
Sure, one team may have won as expediently as possible, but that doesn’t reflect how close each game may be.
That was certainly the case, Oct. 11, as Ruidoso hosted Portales in their District 4-4A opener and fell in three, 25-23, 25-19, 25-21.
“A lot of mental toughness and a lot of heart,” said Ruidoso coach Megan Colvin when asked what it would take for the Lady Warriors to win these close games. “I think we’re to the point where we just need to see who wants it more.”
Ruidoso (5-10, 0-1 district) jumped out ahead to start the match, going up by as much as 7-3 at one point, before Sky Marianito got the serve.
At that point, the Lady Rams (7-8, 1-0) rattled off six straight points and didn’t trail again.
That didn’t meant the game was over, however. After they got to game point serve at 24-17, the Lady Warriors took back the serve on a convincing kill by Morgan Johnson.
Johnson took the serve, and Ruidoso proceeded to score five points. Even after Portales coach Charity Gomez took a time out, the Lady Warriors continued to score on blocks and kills by Bailey Jones and Gracie Hooker.
“We’ve essentially put in a new offense, and it’s something new for all the girls,” said Portales coach Charity Gomez. “I feel, at times, they second-guess themselves instead of doing what they’re supposed to do. They just have to get confident in their offense and believe that they can go get kills.”
It was finally a tip error by the Lady Warriors that gave Portales the victory.
Game two may not have been as close, but Ruidoso was never rally out of it.
Now facing a sweep, the Lady Warriors needed a victory, and looked like they might get it when they stormed back from an early deficit to tie it at 11-all on an ace serve by Jasmyn Gutierrez.
Another tie – and brief Ruidoso lead – followed, but the Lady Warriors couldn’t get past the little mistakes they were making.
“They had two or three solid kills on us, but the rest, we gave away,” Colvin said. “The girls played really well, probably the best I’ve seen them work together, but we think about our mistakes to much, and that’s what sets us back just a little bit.”
While the road is anything but easy from here on out – their next match is at last season’s State runner up Hope Christian on Oct. 14 – Colvin still sees her team improving each contest.
“They were really excited for district to start, and they came out strong tonight,” Colvin said. “We’re clicking just a little bit more every match.”