By Tommy Keeler Jr.
NEW MARKET -- Stonewall Jackson's girls tennis squad knew going into its match with Wilson Memorial that it was in for a tough challenge. Despite the final outcome, the Generals put up a strong fight against last year's Group A state finalist.
In the end, the Green Hornets were able to pull out all the close match en route to an 8-1 Shenandoah District victory over the Generals.
"We're all fighters, you could see it in this match," Stonewall Jackson senior Erin Goodier said. "We were definitely the underdogs in this situation. People got games and were fighting for it, and that's kind of what our team does."
Goodier was one of those fighting for games in her match at No. 2 singles with Amelia Herring.
Early in the match, Goodier had a 3-2 lead. Herring broke Goodier's serve at 3-3 and won six of the last seven games to win the match 8-4.
"It was just so competitive, and every moment you had to be on top of it," Goodier said. "I lost concentration at the end, and that's all she needed. I had to be on top of my game and I just lost it a little bit."
Goodier had a chance to get back in the set after going down a break of serve. Trailing 5-4, the 10th game went several deuces and Goodier had some break-point chances, but couldn't convert. Herring finally held serve with a drop-shot winner.
At No. 1 singles, Stonewall Jackson senior Margaret Moomaw battled it out with Wilson Memorial's Heather Shields.
The match was close throughout, with Shields finally going up a break of serve in the ninth game of the match. The two went back and forth the rest of the way.
With Shields leading 6-5, she went up 40-0, but Moomaw fought back to deuce. Shields eventually won the game with a lob winner for a 7-5 lead. Two games later, Shields finished off the match for the 8-6 win.
"I think I did pretty good, probably my best performance yet," Moomaw said. "She hit better shots than me. That's how it is sometimes. I just need to keep my game tighter and not hit so many balls out."
Wilson Memorial coach Chad Reed said he was happy with how Shields and Herring responded to a little adversity.
"[Shields and Herring] both started out slowly," Reed said. "And that's the only downside of an 8-game pro set -- it goes pretty quickly if you fall behind early. I was happy with the way they turned things around."
Stonewall Jackson coach Cindy Wilkins said she was pleased with how the team did, especially Moomaw and Goodier.
"I thought Margaret and Erin did a really nice job," Wilkins said. "They were consistent and had some really nice shots. Margaret really hit the ball the way she can hit the ball. I was proud of her."
At No. 5 singles, Colleen Shamburg led 3-2 over Sarah Boward. However, Boward won six of the next seven games for an 8-4 victory.
Stonewall Jackson's lone victory came at No. 3 doubles, as Shamburg and Tracy Barb defeated Erica Snook and Ashley Smith, 8-3.
Reed said he's happy with how his team has played so far this season. The Green Hornets have five of their six starters back from last year's state finalist squad, and Reed said he believes the team is playing better than last year at this time.
"This year were more focused -- wanting to improve," Reed said. "We still take everything one match at a time. I think the experience of getting to the state final last year definitely helped out."
Despite the loss, the Generals are still very upbeat about the team this season.
"We have three matches this week, so this is a good way to start it off," Moomaw said. "We all know what we need to work on coming from this, and I think we'll learn from it and hopefully apply those things to our next matches."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org