By Dennis Atwood - firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- The Group A Central Falcons boys tennis team got the early-season challenge they were seeking, and then some, as the Group AA Harrisonburg Blue Streaks took all but one match for an 8-1 win in sunny, 72-degree weather on Friday at W.O. Riley Park.
It was the home opener for the Falcons and season opener for the Blue Streaks.
Central senior Ethan Wilson won his singles match, 8-1, over Harrisonburg sophomore Jack Burden. Wilson employed frequent net approaches, a sharp, low serve and well-placed returns to dominate his opponent.
"I tend, in the first couple of games, to find my opponent's weaknesses, or what they're not as strong at, and attack that, and go from there," Wilson said. "I like to try to get my first serve in and go to the net, and that tends to work for me."
In a match as tight as a well-strung racket, Falcons junior David Hoye played Blue Streaks junior Scott Measell to an 8-8 tie, with Measell winning the tiebreaker, 7-3.
"I was just trying to stick to my game [in the tiebreaker] and [Measell] played well," Hoye said. "I got some unforced errors and he just came out on top. I feel pretty good about my game at this stage, but I have stuff I need to keep working on throughout the season."
The next best outcomes for the Falcons were 8-3 losses in singles by Cody Jones to Harrisonburg's Strefan Peris, and in doubles, where Jones and Matt Sherfey tangled with the Blue Streaks' Burden and Ford Hatfield, with the same outcome.
"It's a good start for us, and that always helps," Harrisonburg coach Justin Fainter said. "We played pretty well. We were a little nervous to begin with, but everything else was fine. We've had some adjustments in the lineup and handled the doubles well, and in the singles, except at the top."
Central had a 6-2 victory over Warren County in their season opener Wednesday.
"I made the point of getting [Harrisonburg] on the schedule, knowing they're good and we wanted to be able to see where we stood, first of all," Central coach Jeff Walters said. "It also keeps you humble. We figure we're going to have some success in the [Shenandoah] district.
"Ethan [Wilson] had a really good match and David [Hoye] had a good match, back and forth. Any time you have a close match like that, you can't help but get better."