Portales’ tennis teams were virtually assured of dual wins Tuesday when they took on the first-year Roswell Valley Christian program at the Eastern New Mexico University tennis courts.
Valley Chritian brought just four girls and three boys to the contests. Although some of the matches were fairly competitive, the Rams and Lady Rams walked away with 9-0 sweeps.
Valley Christian has been added to District 4-3A for tennis, replacing Ruidoso. Thus, the teams scrambled to get a dual set up after the season started.
The Lady Rams rested their top two players, Ella Erf and Bethany Self. Sophomores Kassandra Short and Tessa Bryant played Nos. 1 and 2 singles and teamed up at No. 1 doubles.
Short won handily in singles, but Bryant had to rally from a one-set deficit for a 10-7 win in the third-set super-tiebreaker against Rebecca Schepper, and Short and Bryant needed a third-set tie-breaker to edge Scheper and Jackie Towson in doubles after dropping the first set.
“I’m very happy Kassandra and Tessa got the chance to play No. 1 and No. 2,” PHS girls coach Michelle Wallis said. “I think that willgive them some confidence.”
Wallis said the Lady Rams are gearing toward postseason, playing at Class5A Clovis on Thursday, then traveling to Lovington for a dual next Tuesday and again that weekend for the District 4-3A tournament.
“We’ve just got to focus on Lovington,” she said. “They’ve really built a good program. I feel like they’re strong, but I think we’re stronger.”
Portales’ boys won all three singles matches and the only doubles contest, although the Lions’ Paul Huebner pushed Logan Brown a bit at No. 1 before falling 6-2, 6-3.
“They’re a young program,” Rams coach Wade Fraze said of Valley Christian. “We’ll have a lot tougher time Thursday with Clovis.”
Fraze said the Rams are having to adjust to the loss for district tournament of brothers Walker and Skyler Partin, who will be away during that time to to a band concert.
That will force Portales to make adjustments at Nos. 4 and 5 singles and Nos. 2 and 3 doubles.
He said his squad stayed focused against Valley Christian.
“Instead of focusing on who we were playing, we focused on what we needed to do,” Fraze said. “It’s easy to play down and do just enough to win, but we didn’t do that today as much as we have in the past.”