Lady Rams take district team crown

PNT staff

LOVINGTON — Michelle Wallis had been waiting four days for a rematch after her Portales High girls tennis team lost at Lovington 5-4.

The Lady Rams got their revenge on Saturday, beating the Lady Wildcats 6-3 in the finals of the District 4-3A tennis team championship. Both squads qualified for next week’s Class 3A team state competition in Albuquerque.

Portales boys weren’t as fortunate, losing to Lovington 5-4 in the semifinals. The Wildcats meet heavily-favored New Mexico Military in the finals.

“We were ready to win, and we did,” said Wallis, whose team crushed New Mexico Military 9-0 in the semis to assure a state berth. “I’m extremely proud of all the girls. Winning gives us momentum going into state.”

Wallis will travel to Albuquerque today for a seeding meeting for the eight-team tournament, which begins Friday.

Portales won five of the six singles matches, highlighted by a 14-12 win in a third-set supertiebreaker by sophomore Jayna Nance over the Lady Wildcats Katy at No. 4.

Junior Ella Erf and sophomore Bethany Self both remained unbeaten in singles and as a doubles team with relatively easy wins on Saturday.

The PHS boys, who lost to Lovington 6-3 on Tuesday, made it closer this time, but dropped four of six singles matches.

“I’m disappointed we’re not going to Albuquerque, but I’m pleased with the effort,” coach Wade Fraze said. “If we could’ve done a little better in singles, we wouldn’t have been in that situation (needing to sweep doules).”

Senior Matt Tucker at No. 2 and sophomore Colton Stanton at No. 6 won for the Rams in singles, while Tucker and senior Logan Brown teamed up to win at No. 1 doubles and Stanton and senior Justin McCasland rallied for a three-set win at No. 3 doubles.

Portales lost three-setters at No. 1 singles and No. 2 doubles, with Lovington coming from behind in both after the Rams had taken one-set leads.