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ALBUQUERQUE — Both matches came right down to the wire, but in both instances, the Los Alamos Hilltopper tennis teams found themselves on the short end.
Los Alamos’ boys and girls tennis teams were sent home a round earlier than expected Saturday. The Hilltopper girls fell to their arch-rivals, the Albuquerque Academy Chargers in the semifinal round of the Class 4A state team playoffs, while the Hilltopper boys were stung by the Farmington Scorpions.
It was a wild finish in both team matches, particularly the boys match, which came down to the final game in the final match.
Los Alamos’ boys were up 4-2 after six contests were complete against Farmington and needed just one of the remaining three singles matches to go their way. Unfortunately for the Hilltoppers, however, the Scorpions swept all three to advance and bounce the Hilltoppers out.
Both Los Alamos teams went into the tournament as the No. 2 seeds, but both were upset by the No. 3 seeds in the semis.
As expected, both top seeds in the boys and girls tournaments, Academy’s boys and Farmington’s girls, went on to clinch the 4A titles. Farmington had a closer-than-expected finish with Academy, taking that contest 5-4, while Academy’s boys won 5-3 over Farmington’s boys.
In the boys semifinal, things were tight throughout, but Devin Grider at No. 6 singles earned a 6-4, 6-3 win to give Los Alamos four wins in the best-of-9 series.
Things looked to be well in hand for the Hilltoppers at that point, especially with the Hilltoppers up a set in two of the remaining three matches.
Instead, however, the Scorpions gutted out three tough, three-set wins to earn a 5-4 victory and knock Los Alamos out.
The loss prevented the Hilltoppers from advancing to their fourth straight 4A championship match.
Up a set, Eli Berg of Los Alamos had a freak accident in his match against Cort Cox and dropped the next two sets at No. 5 singles, while No. 1 single Stephen Townsley of Los Alamos came up just short as he tried to battle back from a one-set deficit against Farmington’s Ryan Reeves.
The match rested on the No. 3 singles. For Los Alamos, Dominic Lucido, who on Thursday won half of the boys doubles title along with partner Chase Havemann, was serving for the match at 5-3, but Farmington’s Matt With broke Lucido’s serve and reeled off three straight games following that to give the Scorpions the victory.
In the girls semifinal, Los Alamos could only manage a split of the six singles matches against Academy, while the Chargers’ tough doubles teams did the rest. The Chargers won two of the three completed doubles contests and were up a set in the third when the match ended.
Los Alamos might have found itself down 4-2 after the singles matches, but Susanna Lucido’s gutsy effort against Alicia Brown kept things even. Lucido trailed 3-0 in the first set and 3-2 in the second set before bouncing back to top Brown in each, 7-5, 7-5.
The Hilltopper girls opened the tournament with a 6-1 win Friday over seventh-seeded Belen. The Hilltoppers swept the doubles contests and took the Nos. 3, 4 and 6 singles to close out the win.