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Tennis: LA teams finish second at Academy

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Both boys, girls win three of four including wins over Goddard’s Rockets

By The Staff

Both the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys and girls tennis teams won three of four duals matches at the Albuquerque Academy Invitational this weekend.
The Hilltopper squads knocked out some solid competition at the tournament, hosted by Academy’s Chargers Friday and Saturday, with both teams losing only to the likely No. 1 Class 4A seeds in the state.
Los Alamos’ girls picked up arguably their biggest win of the season to date Friday, topping the Goddard Rockets 6-3 Friday.
 Los Alamos girls head coach Bruce Cottrell said a potential No. 2 seed at the state tournament hung in the balance in that contest — one of the most important determining factors in state seeding is head-to-head results.
The Rockets and Hilltoppers were tied in that contest after the six singles matches, but the Hilltoppers swept the doubles competition to earn the victory.
For Los Alamos’ boys, they also outlasted a very tough Goddard squad 6-3, as well as knocking out Piedra Vista and Belen before falling to Academy 7-2.
Academy, the eight-time defending 4A champ, is the hands-down favorite to win again in 2011. Dominic Lucido at No. 3 singles and Eli Berg at No. 5 picked up wins, but Academy swept six of the other seven matches to win.
The Hilltopper boys, like the girls, are still very much in line for a No. 2 seed at the state tournament, now just a little more than three weeks away.
Goddard, which has been competitive at the state level for the past several seasons, took just two of the six singles matches, in both cases eking out three-set victories at No. 4 and No. 6.
Meanwhile, Stephen Townsley, who split time in the tournament with Chase Havemann at No. 1 singles, earned a decisive 6-3, 6-2 victory over Goddard’s Tristan Collar to set the tone for the match.
Lucido, Havemann and Eli Berg picked up straight-set wins as well in singles, while Los Alamos took two of the three doubles contests.
Lucido finished with four singles wins on the weekend, including a come-from-behind win against Academy’s George Cooper, 3-6, 6-4, 10-6. Berg also won all four of his matches, three of them in two sets.
In the girls contest between Los Alamos and Goddard, Andrea Hengartner picked up an important win at No. 3 singles, gutting out a three-set win against Shannon DuCharme, 6-0, 5-7, 10-7.
The doubles squads of Gillian Hsieh-Ratliff/Colleen Fitzsimmons, Hengartner/Susanna Lucido and Astrid Hengartner/Gwynn Cunningham all earned straight-set wins to seal the victory and keep Los Alamos’ bid for a high seed at state on track.
Hsieh-Ratliff at No. 2 singles and Lucido at No. 4 also picked up wins against Goddard, both of them winning in two sets.
Los Alamos played its second string against Piedra Vista and still won 7-2. Jing Xie, Emily Funsten, Marissa Higdon and Bridget Daughton were all singles winners in that match.
Farmington’s Scorpions, the two-time defending 4A champions, again swept the Hilltoppers to win the tournament. The Scorpions, who are heavy favorites to win a third straight title, didn’t surrender a single set in their victory.
Monday, Los Alamos’ girls swept Española Valley in a duals match, one of three they have scheduled for the week prior to this weekend’s pre-District 2-4A tournament. The Hilltoppers aren’t expected to be challenged on either the boys or girls side for a district title in 2011.
Los Alamos only lost one set out of the nine matches it played against Española Valley. Los Alamos’ top three singles players, Colleen Fitzsimmons, Hsieh-Ratliff and Lucido lost just five games between them Monday.
Los Alamos is scheduled to host former 2-4A rival Taos today, followed by Las Vegas Robertson Wednesday.