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Warriors dispatch visiting Mustangs for speedy victory

By Ben Brooks - sports@nvdaily.com

STEPHENS CITY -- Less than a week after surviving a tough three-setter in the Northwestern District tournament finals, Sherando's Nick Lee got on and off the court in a hurry Tuesday.

And he wasn't the only one.

The unbeaten Warriors opened the Region II boys tennis tournament with a quick 5-0 victory over visiting Monticello on a warm afternoon at Sherando High School. Sherando (16-0), one of three teams in the eight-team field with a perfect record, took the top five singles matches in straight sets to clinch the quarterfinal victory. The one match that went three sets was stopped when the Warriors reached the necessary fifth team point. Sherando's Chris Mikus led 4-6, 6-0, 2-1 at No. 6 singles at the time.

"It just felt like I was in the zone," said Lee, who blanked Monticello's Boris Sikman 6-0, 6-0 in 40 minutes at No. 4 singles. "The ball was going where I wanted it to go. The match just flew by. It's probably the quickest one I've had this year."

Brothers Trevor and Trey Scott weren't far behind after convincing wins at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Trevor Scott topped Brett Diehl 6-1, 6-3, while Trey Scott downed Luke Nadkarni 6-1, 6-1 in under an hour. Daniel Sottosanti defeated Chi Jae Cho 6-3, 6-3 at No. 5, and No. 1 Kaleb Nguyen got the match-clincher by overpowering Colin Rowe 6-1, 6-2. The match lasted nearly 80 minutes, but nearly 20 of that came in the first game.

"It took him a while, but once he figured him out he was OK," Warriors coach Steve Jennings said of Nguyen, the tournament's top seed and one of four unbeatens in Sherando's lineup.

Tuesday's quarterfinal was a rematch of last year's regional semifinal. The Warriors won that one 5-3 after receiving a first-round bye. Even though earning a trip to the state tournament this year would mean having to win three regional matches instead of two, the Warriors felt like it was important to get an early match under their belts.

"It's nice to have a match so that you can get into a rhythm and sort of know when you need to put on the gas," Lee said.

"We talked a lot before the match about wanting to come out strong and be psychologically ahead of the game," Jennings said. "I was glad to see us play well and have our heads in the matches."

Monticello coach Andrew Wymer hoped for a bit more in the regional rematch, but it didn't take him long to see that the Warriors weren't the same as a year ago.

"Obviously, they've done a lot of improving," Wymer said. "I thought we were a little flat, but all the credit goes to them. Even if we had played our best I'm not sure it would have made a difference."

Next up for homestanding Sherando on Thursday is Freedom, which beat Fauquier, 5-1, in another Tuesday quarterfinal. A win there would put the Warriors back in the region final a second straight year, with a state berth on the line.

"We just need to keep doing well, playing our game, and the rest will take care of itself," Trevor Scott said.


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