Lovington downs PHS tennis squads

LOVINGTON — Portales High’s tennis teams took it on the chin in District 4-3A duals against Lovington on Tuesday, but the Rams and Lady Rams figure to get quick shots at a return match.

Lovington won the boys matchup 6-3 and took a 5-4 victory in the girls dual.

Lovington’s boys finished second in the regular-season round-robin behind New Mexico Military, while Portales was third. Meantime, the Lady Wildcats earned the girls No. 1 seed in Saturday’s district team competition while relegating PHS to No. 2.

Lovington and Portales will meet in the boys semifinals, while the girls teams will likely also meet in the championship match.

Logan Brown at No. 1 and Colton Stanton at No. 6 captured singles wins for Portales’ boys, and they also teamed up for the Rams only win in doubles at the No. 3 spot.

“I think we could’ve done better today,” PHS boys coach Wade Fraze said. “We missed shots and just faltered at times. But I think those are things that are correctible.”

PHS girls coach Michelle Wallis, meantime, was disappointed in her team’s doubles play against the Lady Wildcats. Both Kassandra Short and Tessa Bryant at No. 2 and Tara Thron and Jayna Nance at No. 3 were beaten after winning the first set of their matches.

“It was lack of focus,” Wallis said of the loss. “I knew they’d be tough. I wasn’t surprised at how good they were; I’m surprised at how bad we played.”

Junior Ella Erf and sophomore Bethany Self both remained unbeaten in singles and as doubles partners. They lost only nine games in three matches in sweeping past their Lovington opponents.

The Lady Rams’ other victory came at No. 5 singles, where sophomore Jayna Nance routed Lovington’s Katy White 6-4, 6-0.

“They were very good,” she said of the Lady Wildcats, “but I still feel we’re better. We just had a bad day.”

Portales and Lovington will be heavy favorites over New Mexico Military and Roswell Valley Christian, respectively, in Saturday’s semifinals.

“I can’t wait,” Wallis said of a possible rematch with the Lady Wildcats. “Now we know what to expect. We’ll be prepared; it’s time to get down to business.”

Individual matches will be played on Friday, with each school able to enter two singles and two doubles.

On Thursday, PHS squads return to Clovis to complete a dual suspended by weather last Thursday.