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Lady Bulldog Samera Hernandez eyes the ball before returning service during girls’ singles play Tuesday at the Mack. (Brienne Green – Daily Press)

Following a frustrating loss to Goddard April 3 in their District 4-AAAAA opener, the Lady Bulldog tennis team needed a confidence boost.

“We needed something after Goddard, a reminder that we’re not playing bad tennis,” head coach Tim Trentham said today. “You kind of get defeated when you lose your first district dual, and we needed to snap the girls out of that.”

Trentham and his staff were pleased, therefore, to see the Lady ‘Dogs get back on track Tuesday at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex, defeating Lovington 8-1 to move to 1-1 in regular-season district play.

“They did fantastic,” Trentham said. “I was very pleased. The last time we played Lovington in their tournament, we ended up having to win in doubles. We went 2-4 in singles, which made us have to win all three doubles to get that one, so having that turnaround yesterday was really big.”

The Artesia girls went 5-1 in singles play Tuesday. Senior Samera Hernandez defeated Fernanda de Dios 6-0, 6-2 in the No. 1 match, followed by victories from Andrea Alvarez over Samantha Armendariz (4-6 (7-1), 6-4); Daisy Barrera over Perla Gonzalez (6-2, 6-3); Dominique Sanchez over Kimberly Villasenior (6-2, 7-5); and Jennifer Rios over Cristal Estrada (6-1, 6-1).

Lovington’s Yvette Peters got the Lady Wildcats’ lone win, 7-5, 6-0 over Za’Leigh Pittam.

“Za’Leigh’s girl was just kind of a human lob wall, and if you’ve never played against that style before, it can be frustrating,” said Trentham. “She’s more of an aggressive player who wants to get to the net, and she had to play a lot on the baselines, which she’s not used to.”

Hernandez and Barrera were in the process of defeating Peters and Gonzalez 6-2, 0-6, 6-3 when the Lady ‘Dogs learned they’d locked up the dual with their singles play, so the remaining two doubles duos took their matches in pro sets: Pittam and Alvarez over de Dios and Villasenior, 8-2, and Sanchez and Michelle Greene over Armendariz and Estrada, 8-4.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, were on the other end of that scenario Tuesday, falling to the Wildcats 1-8 after going 1-5 in singles play.

Juan Montanez lunges to return a shot during boys’ singles against Lovington. (Brienne Green – Daily Press)

“The boys were actually really tight in the singles,” said Trentham. “Out of the six matches, three were split sets, so realistically, had we been able to pull those off, we could’ve gotten out of singles 4-2.

“We just weren’t able to turn them our way. They took the momentum from us and were just able to finish off the matches. I think the pressure of district kind of got to use a little bit in the end. Going into doubles when you know you’ve already lost, it’s kind of hard for those matches to have any meaning, and I think that got into our minds.”

Jesus Valdez secured the Bulldogs win on the day in No. 2 singles play, topping Si Teel 6-3, 6-3.

Juan Montanez went 1-6, 3-6 with Jace Crawford in No. 1 singles Tuesday, followed by Tomas Gonzalez, 6-4, 4-6, 4-6 to David Corrales; Zain Burns, 4-6, 6-2, 1-6 to Sergio Lujan; Caleb Carnathan, 6-4, 4-6, 5-7 to Dominic Rodriguez; and Lalo Samaniego, 1-6, 4-6 to Renato Onofre.

The ‘Dogs were swept in doubles, with Montanez/Gonzalez going 1-6, 3-6 with Crawford/Teel; Valdez/Burns 2-6, 5-7 with Corrales/Onofre; and Carnathan/David Anaya 2-6, 5-7 with Lujan/Melchor Pena.

“(Lovington’s) the team to beat in district,” Trentham said. “We knew that one was going to be the toughest out f our district matches, so we hope that’s how it plays out whenever we get to the district tournament – that we get a chance to get those matches back that we lost.

“But overall, it was a good day on both sides. For the boys, it was just a reminder that we’ve go some really stiff competition, and for the girls, it was a reminder that we are competition for people. Everything’s a learning experience.”

The Artesia teams will now prepare to hit the road Thursday for their final regular district dual against Roswell High.

“We know what to expect from Roswell’s boys,” said Trentham. “They only lost to Lovington 5-4, so it’s going to be a really tough match. The girls, we’re just not sure, because Roswell went 8-1 against Lovington, too.

“We’re expecting tight matches on both sides, especially knowing that with both, we’re going to be playing to see who’s No. 2 in the district.”