Rams, Lady Rams beat Raton in tennis duals

With No. 2 player Jessie Privett not available due to a family commitment, Portales High's girls got solid performance from sophomore Hannah Evans on Saturday and edged Raton 5-4 in a dual tennis match played at the Bill Wahlman Tennis Center.

Meantime, the PHS boys posted a 6-3 win over the Tigers at the Eastern New Mexico University courts.

Evans earned the Lady Rams a win at No. 5 singles, beating Raton's Liz Valdez 6-3, 6-3, and teamed with Ely Chavez for a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Valdez and Ashley Hester at No. 3 doubles.

"It's good to have some girls who can step in when needed," Lady Rams coach Ann-Marie Bucksath said after her squad improved to 2-1 in duals. "We haven's had the same lineup one time yet this year."

The Lady Rams won four of the six singles matches, so the win at No. 3 doubles was just enough to get them the team victory.

The Rams, meantime, earned their first win in three dual outings despite dropping three of five supertiebreakers against the Tigers.

"We're still working on the mental game," PHS boys coach Brian Kirchner said. "It was better today, but some of the guys get a little tight going into supertiebreakers."

The lower three singles matches and No. 2 and 3 doubles all went to supertiebreakers, with a 10-point tiebreaker deciding the match after the first two sets are split. Mychael Sturm at No. 1 singles, Austin Lucero at No. 2 and Nathan Van Dam at No. 3 were all fairly dominant, losing a combined 10 games, and Sturm and Lucero posted a 6-1, 6-1 win over Raton's Toby Henson and Jared Harrison at No. 1 doubles.

"We played better today," Kirchner said. "We played a lot looser. We've been trying to get these guys to just enjoy it and have fun."

PHS squads return to action April 5-6 in the Artesia Invitational.

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