With all of the emotions of a preacher at a tent revival in the wee hours of the morning going on, Portales and Goddard volleyball just took it up a notch. If it wasn’t a rivalry before the district championship game — it is now.
Portales had their cheerleaders on their side, getting their fans stoked up, and Goddard had their fans pounding on chairs and standing and stomping their feet as both sides yelled at the referees about unfair calls.
Portales’ coach Chaity Gomez was losing her mind on the sidelines as she called timeout after timeout to stop the tsunami of the Lady Rockets’ comeback, from two sets down to win in five sets: 23-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-21 and 15-7 at Ground Zero Saturday night.
All season long Goddard volleyball coach Dewayne Roberts has chewed on the fact that his team was only five points away from bringing home the Blue Trophy in his first season as coach. One might call it a magnificent obsession. It drives him and he, in turn, drives his team, to put the Lady Rockets back on top.
Roberts knew coming into the season that his team would have a bullseye on their backs. He frankly didn’t care — in fact, he welcomed it and told his team if they were to be champions, they would have to beat teams playing their best against them.
Goddard needed a little luck as Portales lost to Artesia and Goddard in back to back games, to force a one-game playoff for the regular district crown. Roberts gathered his team after the Lovington game and told them if they were to get back to state and win it, their season was going to have to go through their seniors.
“I knew we could beat them on Monday,” Roberts said. “We had to get over the mental block. I don’t want to sound cocky, but I would take our girls over any team in the state; especially when we’re focused and playing our game.”
For Goddard to win and come back from a 2-0 deficit, it took everyone. The win wasn’t pretty and against great teams it usually isn’t. Goddard made plenty of mistakes and there were bad calls that went against them, but as Roberts said, his team just kept playing.
This is the first time that Roberts has won regular season and district tournament championships in the same season. Last season they won the regular season championship but were upset at home by Artesia. Roberts feels vindicated on his mission of championships. The only thing left for him and his team to accomplish is the Blue Trophy, which begins this week.
“We knew we had a state berth,” Roberts said, “by winning the championship on Monday over them. This district tournament championship means a lot to us. It means that no one in our district can be seeded higher than us at state. Our girls played out of their minds tonight, I’m very proud of them.”
Goddard will have to wait until the brackets come out on Sunday night to see where they are seeded. Read RDR Sports Tuesday, where all of the brackets will be posted for your favorite local team.
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or firstname.lastname@example.org.