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Skipper enjoys friendly reunion

By Tommy Keeler Jr. - tkeeler@nvdaily.com

STEPHENS CITY -- Skyline's Tiara Skipper knew many of her opponents in her match with Sherando.

Two years ago, Skipper played at Sherando. On Thursday, the junior helped the Hawks to a convincing 7-2 win over the Warriors in Northwestern District action.

"You can't take it personally," Skipper said of facing her former team. "You have to be able to separate the player from the friend. It was nice seeing some of my friends again."

Skipper defeated Sherando's Emmy Bossung, 10-5, at No. 2 singles. Bossung, a sophomore, was not on the team when Skipper was at Sherando. However, the two played each other last season and have faced each other during the summer.

Skipper said having that familiarity with her opponent helped her. Skipper also came to the net throughout her match, finishing points off with volley winners.

"I love playing at the net," Skipper said. "It's a good way to finish the points off. The last few years I've really worked on improving my volleys. It's made it a lot easier for me."

It was the first time the Hawks had ever beaten Sherando and they were able to seal the match in singles. At No. 4 singles, Julie Hoverter beat Sherando's Kirsten Bianco.

Bianco grabbed an early lead, but Hoverter battled back and won seven of the last eight games.

The win gave Skyline (5-3, 2-1) a 4-1 lead. Skyline's Victoria Rogers clinched the team win with a 10-6 victory at No. 3 singles over Caitlin Petrosky, who wasn't feeling well throughout her match.

Rogers built a 9-4 lead, but Petrosky battled back to within 9-6. Rogers kept her composure and finished off the match with an ace.

"I was pretty confident when I walked out there and I just tried to keep that in my head," Rogers said. "She came back, but I just tried to stay positive and I think that helped."

Sherando coach Trevor Johnson said he was very happy with how Petrosky kept fighting despite feeling under the weather.

"I was proud that she stayed out there and finished the match," Johnson said.

One real bright spot for the Warriors (2-7, 1-3) was the play of Sarah Wolfe. The sophomore won 10-1 at No. 1 singles over Shannon Hoverter, and she teamed with Bossung for a 10-2 victory at No. 1 doubles over the Hoverter sisters.

"I knew that she's a really good player," Wolfe said of her singles match. "I thought I played well. I just tried to be consistent and get everything back."

Wolfe and Bossung's only loss in doubles in the district was to Handley. The two had good communication on the court and did a solid job of finishing points off at the net.

"I think we stayed really focused and we tried to attack [Julie Hoverter's] serve and just tried to get Shannon's serve back in play because she has a really good serve," Wolfe said. "[Bossung] has [gotten] a lot better. All her hard work has paid off."

The Warriors were also playing without regular No. 4 singles player Larissa Gallaher, who is recovering from a broken foot.

The win puts the Hawks in second place in the Northwestern District. Last year the team finished fifth, but they have worked hard in the offseason and it has showed on the court this season.

"I think everybody has really bonded well," Shannon Hoverter said. "We lost two from the top six last year and we miss them, but other people have stepped up and are doing well. It's a good feeling being in second. It's really nice for me being a senior, since it's my last year."


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