By Dave Wagner
The Portales High tennis teams got back on track Thursday.
Two days after most of the varsity players were left at home for a school violation, the Rams and Lady Rams had their way with District 4-3A rival Lovington in rolling to 9-0 victories.
The boys had to go to a 10-point tiebreaker in two singles matches and one doubles match, but otherwise PHS had few problems.
“We played pretty well today, although we had several matches that were close,” PHS tennis coach Bill Wahlman said.
Other than No. 4 singles, where Jessica Bulls posted a 6-4, 6-3 win, the Lady Rams never lost more than two games in a set in improving to 10-2 in duals for the season.
“The girls really believe in themselves,” Wahlman said. “They pretty much go out and take care of business.”
Sophomore Morgan Erf won handily at No. 1 singles and teamed with Jessica Bulls for a 6-1, 6-0 win at No. 2 doubles.
Erf, who teamed with Bulls to finish fourth in doubles in last year’s Class 3A state tournament, said she hasn’t decided whether to play singles or doubles this year in the postseason.
“I prefer singles,” she said. “I think I’m better in singles, but I enjoy doubles. We have fun playing.
“I thought I did pretty good today in both my matches.”
Logan Brown and Matt Tucker both had third-set tiebreakers at Nos. 3 and 4 singles as well as No. 2 doubles. Meantime, Chris Kirchner and Chance Plummer cruised in Nos. 1 and 2 singles and at No. 2 doubles, while James Cerda and Skyler Partin did likewise at the other end of the lineup.
Wahlman said he’ll know a lot more about who will play singles and doubles after Tuesday’s final district duels against New Mexico Military in Roswell. He said Kirchner, who has only played a handful of matches this spring after helping the Rams reach the 3A state finals in basketball, is beginning to round into form.
“He’s a good athlete, and he’s adjusting quickly,” Wahlman said. “We’ll know more after Tuesday. I think (NMMI has) two super singles players.”
Kirchner said he’s looking forward to the challenge at NMMI, but he thinks he’ll end up in doubles in the postseason.
“I like singles more, but there’s more competition in singles,” he said. “Me and Chance are going to see how we play (Tuesday). Once we play NMMI, we’ll have a better idea.”
PHS has four duals left in the regular season, with the others after Tuesday all at home.