St. Michael’s downs PHS in semifinals

PNT staff

ALBUQUERQUE — The Portales Lady Rams will have to wait another year for a shot at a Class 3A state tennis championship.

Portales played competitively for the most part, but couldn’t match Santa Fe St. Michael’s depth on Saturday in dropping a 6-3 semifinal decision to the Lady Horsemen at Sierra Vista Tennis Complex.

Junior Ella Erf and sophomore Bethany Self provided the only wins for the top-seeded Lady Rams, remaining unbeaten for the season in both singles and doubles.

Erf defeated St. Mike’s Maria Lopez 6-0, 6-1 at No. 1 singles, while Self dropped a set for the first time this year but came back to beat Danielle Lopez — Maria’s cousin — 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 at No. 2.

Erf and Self cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 win over the Lopezes at No. 1 doubles.

In the other six divisions, the Lady Rams lost seven sets by scores of 6-4.

“It came down to the fact that they’re a better team,” said first-year PHS girls coach Michelle Wallis, a 1995 St. Mike’s grad. “The thing is they have more depth. That’s something we need to (build) for next year.”

Second-seeded Bosque edged district rival Sandia Prep 5-4 in the other semifinal, then went on to hand St. Michael’s a 6-3 setback in the championship match.

“I’m disappointed we lost, but it’s kind of bittersweet,” Wallis said. “I’m sad we lost, but I’m happy because everyone’s returning for us.

“Next year, when we get to state it’ll be a different story.”

Self, Erf and No. 2 doubles team of sophomores Kassandra Short and Tessa Bryant will return to Albuquerque next weekend for individual competition in doubles. Self and Erf have earned the No. 1 seed in that 16-team event, while Short and Bryant are seeded seventh.

Erf and Self have a first-round bye on Friday and are scheduled for a quarterfinal match at 2:30 p.m., while Short and Bryant compete at 10:30 a.m. against the Raton tandem of Alyssa Mares and Katy Morris.

Meantime, the PHS boys will send senior Logan Brown in singles and the doubles team of senior Matt Tucker and junior Kyle Adams.

Brown faces Jake Ordencia of Ruidoso in the 8-9 matchup at 9 a.m. Friday while Tucker and Adams, seeded fourth, have a bye into a 2:30 p.m. quarterfinal.