The Portage boys tennis team has played well in Badger North Conference dual meet action this season, picking up three victories.
The Warriors hopes of a fourth came up just short Monday night, suffering a 4-3 loss to DeForest in their final Badger North dual of the season at Portage High School. Portage led 3-2 with two matches remaining but lost in three sets at both No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles against the Norskies.
“We obviously would have liked to post another dual win, but I’m proud to see them take it to three sets,” Portage coach Sarah Pulliam said. “I would have liked to see them pull out the win in the end, but obviously somebody’s got to fall a little short.”
Portage senior Cody Santas fell to DeForest’s Eliot Pickhardt at No. 1 singles, while the team of senior Nick Holmes and junior William Buckley failed to fend off the Norskies’ Mason Hoffman and Chris Kennedy at the top doubles flight.
Both Santas and the duo of Holmes and Buckley however made things interesting after poor starts. After losing the first set 1-6, Santas battled back against Pickhardt to take the second set 7-6 (4) before falling in the third, 6-2.
Likewise, Holmes and Buckley dropped their opening set 3-6 but roared back with a 6-0 sweep in the second. The duo was unable to come all the way back however, falling in the third and decisive set, 6-4.
“I’m proud of them for being able to refocus and then pull out the second set and take it to a third,” Pulliam said. “I’m happy it wasn’t a straight wash of 6-0 and they picked up a couple wins.”
Leading the way for Portage was the No. 2 doubles team of Walker Voigt and Michael Erickson. The senior duo coasted past the DeForest team of Bryce Erdman and Ryan Reynolds in straight sets, surrendering just one game in the 6-0, 6-1 win. In their second year playing together, Voigt and Erickson have steadily improved into a cohesive unit.
“I think it meant a lot to them to be able to pull out this win,” Pulliam said. “I think it gives them some momentum because conference on Friday is going to be difficult.”
Along with the No. 2 duo, the Warriors’ No. 3 team of senior Hunter Lawless and sophomore Alex Rietmann cruised in straight sets. The pair pounced on DeForest’s Nolan McCann and Josh Dichoso for a 6-2 win in the opening set before rolling to a 6-1 win in the second to cap off the victory.
Rounding out the Warriors’ winners on the day was Eli Considine as the senior earned a straight sets win at No. 4 singles. Considine faced little push back from DeForest’s Nathan Xiong, rolling to a 6-1, 6-2 victory.
Also on the singles side, senior Brandon Hall fell to DeForest’s Brady Feist, 6-3, 6-4, at the No. 3 flight while freshman Emmett Benck dropped a 6-0, 6-1 decision to Adam Horton at No. 2.
Despite falling short of another dual win, Pulliam was pleased with the team’s effort over the course of the season.
“Our roster is really heavy with seniors so it’s going to be a huge loss in terms of (next) season, but they’ve come a long way, especially with those that have been with us as freshmen,” she said. “It shows how hard they’ve worked and how much they’re willing to perform. It’s been a very great season for them.”
DEFOREST 4, PORTAGE 3
SINGLES: No. 1 — Pickhardt, DeF, def. Santas, 6-1, 6-7 (4), 6-2. No. 2 — Horton, DeF, def. Benck, 6-0, 6-1. No. 3 — Feist, DeF, def. Hall, 6-3, 6-4. No. 4 — Considine, P, def. Xiong, 6-1, 6-2.
DOUBLES: No. 1 — Hoffman/Kennedy, DeF, def. Holmes/Buckley, 6-3, 0-6, 6-4. No. 2 — Voigt/Erickson, P, def. Erdman/Reynolds, 6-0, 6-1. No. 3 — Lawless/Rietmann, P, def. McCann/Dichoso, 6-2, 6-1.