By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WOODSTOCK -- Kyle Ford wasn't going to let anything keep him from a win on Monday afternoon.
Not an early deficit, or a distraction from a nearby basketball court or even his opponent were going to keep the Central boys tennis senior from posting a win.
Ford overcame every obstacle thrown his way to help Central beat Millbrook 7-2 in non-district boys tennis action.
Ford trailed 5-0 in the blink of an eye to Conner Pierson at No. 6 singles.
"I think I just didn't get a good enough warm-up before the match," Ford said. "I knew I just had to slow down and not try to make it as fast as possible."
Ford then ran off seven consecutive games to take a 7-5 lead. Ford said his forehand started working better for him. However, Pierson fought back with three consecutive games to take an 8-7 lead.
To make matters worse, there were several individuals by the nearby basketball courts, who Ford said were "singing and dancing" and causing a distraction. The match was even more important at this point, because the Falcons were up 4-1 in the team match.
"Conditions over there weren't the best, that happens sometimes at a public park," Central coach Andrew Wetzel said. "That was the first time we've had that happen this year. It's just unfortunate it happened in the most crucial match that was going on over there."
Ford regrouped once again and won the final three games, using a forehand winner to win the final point.
"I just decided that after everything that I already overcame I was not going to lose that match," Ford said.
The Pioneers (4-7) put up a fight early in many of the singles matches, before the Falcons pulled away. Central's Sam Snarr won at No. 5 singles 10-2 over Millbrook's Mitchell Ulich, and Central's Colbey Ryman won nine of the last 12 games for a 10-5 victory over Millbrook's Dillon Rice at No. 2 singles.
Millbrook's Christopher Wiens topped Central's Bobby Loveland, 10-6, at No. 1 singles to cut the overall lead to 2-1.
At No. 3 singles, Central's Nick Andrick was in a real battle with Sean Franz. Andrick beat Franz, 11-9, earlier this season, and trailed 4-3 early on Monday afternoon.
Andrick won the final seven games to win the match 10-4.
"It was tough. I thought I played really well," Andrick said. "I got down 0-2, and I think I just had to focus to try to get my game on and it ended up working."
At No. 4 singles, Central's Sam Barbour beat Matthew Sousa, 10-4, to give the Falcons the 4-1 lead.
The Pioneers have a young and inexperienced squad, and were defeated 9-0 by Central earlier this season.
Millbrook coach Michael Arney said he's been pleased with how his team has improved throughout the year.
"We have basically a new team," Arney said. "We only have about two guys that returned from last year, so they've learned and improved on their skills along the way this season. And I'm proud of them."
The Falcons (7-2, 1-1 Bull Run) had high hopes for this season, but suffered back-to-back losses to George Mason and Riverheads earlier this month. They have now responded with two consecutive wins. The Falcons will get another shot at George Mason on May 2 with the Bull Run District title on the line.
"That's an important match for us because they're blocking us from states," Loveland said. "I know coach Wetzel has prepared us for it. We all want it pretty bad.
"We're going to go out and give 100 percent and give them a run for their money."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org