Published: 1:00 pm, Thu. Apr. 21st, 2016Updated: 2:13 pm
Both the Bulldog and Lady Bulldog tennis teams are on pace to make a run at the District 4-AAAAA crown.
The Artesia High School squads head into D4 Team Tournament action this week as the No. 2 seeds, having been edged in tight 5-4 showings by Lovington’s boys and Goddard’s girls in regular district duals.
A forfeit by Goddard of the boys’ opening-round match intended to take place this afternoon at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex has given the ‘Dogs an automatic 9-0 win and a slot in Monday’s title matches. The Lady ‘Dogs, meanwhile, will square off with Roswell High at 4 p.m. Friday at The Mack for the chance to compete Tuesday for the championship.
“We’re excited,” head coach Tim Trentham said today. “The boys are already in, and the girls just have to get through one more tomorrow for their chance.”
The AHS teams finished out their regular district slate Monday and Tuesday against Lovington and Roswell at home.
Versus the Wildcats, the Lady Bulldogs earned a 9-0 forfeit due to Lovington being shorthanded but elected to compete regardless in seven matches, winning them all.
Marissa Lopez topped Stacey Garcia in No. 1 singles, 6-3, 6-0, Kabryn Conner bested Valeria Gomez (6-1, 6-1), Melissa Richards posted a win over Dylan Davis (7-6 (7-0), 6-2), Baylee McKinney defeated Kenney Kirkpatrick (7-6 (7-1), 6-1), and Hailey Ashe won over Fernanda Valdovinos de Dios (6-1, 6-2), while in doubles action, Lopez and Conner defeated Garcia and Kirkpatrick (6-3, 5-7, 6-1) and Richards and McKinney topped Gomez and Davis (6-3, 6-2).
The Bulldogs knew heading into their dual with Lovington they were likely seeing a preview of the district title bout, and in dramatic fashion, both teams went into the final match tied 4-4.
Artesia came up short overall in doubles, with Jake Trejo and Josiah Kraft defeating Christian Crawford and Jace Crawford (4-6, 6-0, 7-5) and Peyton Prothro and Tailor Baggerly and Jamey Kennemur and Juan Montanez falling by scores of 4-6, 6-3, 4-6 and 3-6, 6-7 (2-7) respectively.
Meanwhile in singles, Trejo bested Jace Crawford 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-2, Kennemur defeated Reid Figueroa 6-1, 6-4, and Baggerly won over Martinez 6-2, 6-3, while Kraft fell to Aceves 0-6, 1-6 and Montanez to Hernandez 2-6, 3-6. The tie-breaking No. 2 singles match between Prothro and Christian Crawford went down to the wire, but Prothro ultimately came up short in three sets, 3-6, 6-2, 6-7 (3-7).
“We knew that was going to be a tight match, and it was a tough loss to take,” said Trentham. “But that’s a match we know we can flip, so we’re pretty optimistic going into the district championship.”
The Bulldogs came back Tuesday with a 9-0 sweep of Roswell High.
In singles, Trejo triumphed 6-1, 6-0, followed by Prothro (6-0, 6-1), Kraft (6-1, 6-1), Kennemur (6-2, 6-1), Baggerly (6-2, 6-3) and Montanez (4-6, 6-2, 6-1), while in doubles play, Trejo and Kraft took a 6-0, 6-2 win, Prothro and Baggerly won 6-2, 6-2, and Kennemur and Montanez posted a 6-0, 6-1 final.
The Lady Bulldogs also handily defeated the Lady Coyotes, with singles wins from Conner (6-1, 6-4), McKinney (6-0, 1-0) and Ashe (6-2, 6-0) and doubles wins from Lopez and Conner (6-3, 6-1), Richards and McKinney (6-4, 6-0) and Ashe and Nicole Marquez (6-4, 7-5).
“If the girls get through tomorrow and things go the way we think they will, we’ll be looking at Lovington and Goddard next week,” Trentham said, “and those are the ones we lost 5-4. So we’re pretty pumped on both sides. Everybody’s really feeling the energy of district, and we’re excited, too, about what kind of damage we can do at state.”