By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
ALBUQUERQUE — One day after advancing past Sandia Prep in the Class 1-3A boys state tennis team quarterfinals, the Portales Rams hit a roadblock in Saturday’s semifinals in the form of the undefeated, top-ranked Las Vegas Robertson Cardinals.
Robertson dominated the match, winning 9-0 at Albuquerque Academy.
“I feel very good about the way we played,” Rams coach Wade Fraze said. “I’ve been in a lot of situations where you feel like you ‘could have, should have, would have’ won. I don’t feel like that today.”
The Rams’ Kyle Adams fell 6-2, 6-1 at No. 1 singles, while Walker Partin lost at No. 2 6-1, 6-1.
“We could have done a little better today, but Robertson was just a better team than us,” Partin said. “We played pretty good as a whole today; we just didn’t play good enough.”
Senior Skyler Partin lost to Ethan Maestas 6-3, 6-2 at No. 3, while Davey Riser fell 6-1, 6-0 at No. 4, Colton Stanton lost 6-0, 6-1 at No. 5 and Sunny Liu was beaten 6-0, 6-1 at No. 6.
The Cardinals proved to be just as strong in doubles, winning all three matches in straight sets. The highligh was a 6-2, 6-1 win for Robertson’s Roman Fulgenzi and Emilio Garcia over the Partin brothers at No. 1.
“We’ve been playing as well as we have all year, and we were just beaten by a better team,” Fraze said. “We made a lot of strides this year, as far as our mental approach to the game and having a champions mentality.”
Fraze and the players were complimentary of the Cardinals.
“(Robertson) is the better team,” Fraze said. “I feel like their the best team in the state.”
Added Walker Partin: “We haven’t really meshed as a team this year, and (Friday) we did pretty good. We pulled through when people needed us to.”
While the Rams are losing significant players next season, the few remaining seem strong.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to bring (the program) up next year,” Walker Partin said.
“Our numbers are going to be down,” Fraze said. “I need to get some young kids playing, but who we have coming back are very solid players.”