McLister evades Sherando’s Mikus
By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WINCHESTER — Sherando senior Chris Mikus didn’t have a lot of opportunities to break the serve of Loudoun County’s Jack McLister, but when he did McLister generally found a way to rise to the occasion.
McLister fought off six of the seven break points he faced on his way to a 6-1, 6-1 win over Mikus in the Region II individual singles final on Wednesday at Millbrook.
McLister advances to the Group AA state semifinals next week at Radford University, while the season comes to an end for Mikus.
“It feels good,” McLister said. It’s been my goal all season from day one to make it to states as an individual, and as a doubles team with my partner Bill Bouweir.”
McLister failed to complete his second goal, as he and Bouweir fell to Handley’s Parker Wilson and Taylor Watts in the doubles semifinals. Wilson and Watts went on to win the tournament and the state berth.
In the singles final, McLister got an early break, but Mikus fought back. Mikus broke McLister’s serve in the third game to cut the lead to 2-1. It would be the only break of serve for Mikus in the match.
McLister broke Mikus’ serve for a 3-1 lead. In the next game, Mikus had two break point opportunities, but two errors sent the game to deuce. A service winner and a forehand winner gave McLister the game and a 4-1 lead.
“On those points I kind of focused more,” McLister said of fighting off break points. “I didn’t want to let myself fall back into his strategy of what he wanted to do. i just thought I had to focus more on those points and it came through.”
McLister won eight of the next 10 points to finish off the first set. The second set went much like the first. McLister got an early break to go up 2-0. Mikus held for 2-1, after fighting off a break point.
McLister then held easily and broke Mikus’ serve with a forehand winner for a 4-1 lead. Mikus had a break point in the next game, but three straight errors helped McLister win the game.
The Loudoun County sophomore then finished off the 51-minute match with a volley winner and then drew an error from Mikus on match point.
“He played great,” Mikus said of McLister. “He has an amazing forehand and he’s really good at the net. He’s got a good serve. He’s just an all-around good player. He played great today. It was an honor to be able to play him in the final.”
Mikus said he wasn’t able to be consistent enough against the powerful strokes of McLister.
“I felt like my timing was off a little bit today,” Mikus said. “I was trying to hit to the corners a little bit more, paint the lines a little bit. My timing was just too far off to do that today. It just led to a whole lot more uinforced errors than it was worth.”
McLister, who plays with a solid one-handed backhand, said he had a different strategy against Mikus than in Tuesday’s semifinal match against Handley’s Parker Wilson.
“I just tried to keep the ball in play today, keep consistent,” McLister said. “I felt like I had to keep the ball in play and everything would fall into place.
“Against Handley’s No. 1, Parker Wilson, we’re both very aggressive players. Whoever takes the aggression first usually wins the match. I won both times I played [Wilson] this year, but they’ve both been very close. Just a completely different aspect [against Mikus]. It feels good to know that I have the ability to adjust from match to match.”
Despite the loss, Mikus was very pleased with the season and career he’s had at Sherando.
“I’m very happy, very fortunate to get this far in these four years,” Mikus said. “It’s been an amazing experience all around. I’m very happy with the results of all four years.
“I couldn’t have asked for more.”
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org