Published: 2:34 pm, Sun. Apr. 23rd, 2017Updated: 2:32 pm
After a solid run through the first two rounds of the District 4-AAAAA Team Tournament, the Bulldog tennis squad will hit the courts Monday in Lovington with a D4 title on the line.
The Artesia boys defeated Goddard Monday, 5-2, and edged out Roswell High on Thursday, 5-4, to both secure a spot in the Class 5A State Team Tournament and earn their shot at the top-seeded Wildcats.
“The Roswell situation was pretty crazy,” head coach Tim Trentham said Saturday. “We were playing our last doubles match with every other match pretty much finished. As a team, we were tied four-all, and one of our boys started cramping real bad.”
The No. 2 doubles duo of Ramon Molina and Jesus Valdez battled out the win, however.
“It was kind of a heroic situation for our boys, for lack of a better word,” Trentham said. “They did an outstanding job, given the circumstances, of being able to fight through that match and get the win for our team.”
The singles wins on the day Thursday had gone to Jake Trejo, Tailor Baggerly and Valdez, with Trejo and Baggerly also winning their No. 1 doubles bout.
“It was one of those things were willpower overcomes, and all that adrenaline just shoots into your system and great things happen,” Trentham said. “It was a great match to watch.”
The Lady Bulldogs, meanwhile, saw their team season come to an unfortunate end Friday on the road, falling to Goddard 5-1. Artesia had defeated Roswell 5-4 Tuesday to advance to the second round.
“We came out of doubles 1-2, and I feel like we would’ve had to have gotten two doubles wins to really have a chance,” said Trentham. “Once the singles matches start falling, the pressure just kind of builds on the other girls left on the court. They recognize the situation, and it can be difficult for them to really push past it once everything starts kind of falling apart.”
The Lady ‘Dogs’ doubles win came courtesy of Nicole Marquez and Melissa Richards, and that, Trentham believes, will likely earn them the No. 1 seed heading into the upcoming D4 Individual Tournament.
“That’s our focus now with the girls – seeing how many individuals we can qualify for state,” said the coach. “Our district, as far as the girls’ side, is a lot tougher than it was last year, but we’ll see. I think our top four girls will probably all end up playing doubles, and then our five, six and seven players will have the opportunity to try to qualify as singles.”
The individual tourney is set to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday at Roswell High, and while the Artesia girls are beginning preparations for that, the ‘Dogs are zeroing in on Monday’s 4 p.m. championship bout in Lovington.
“The boys still have to get through Monday before we look ahead to individuals, and I don’t want them thinking too far ahead,” Trentham said. “Lovington is going to be a pretty tough challenge, but there’s a lot to be said about being the underdog in a match.
“Sometimes I almost favor that situation, because you have more bulletin board material and a lot more fight in you. This is just so much of an individual sport that a kid can flip a switch and dominate a match they previously lost… tennis is like that.”