Youthful Warriors continue building

By Brad Fauber

STEPHENS CITY — Sherando’s girls tennis team has plenty of work to do to overcome its youth and inexperience this season. The good news is, with the weather finally starting to look more like spring, the Warriors should have plenty of opportunities this week to gain some valuable court time.

The Warriors are scheduled to play four matches this week in a span of five days, and they started the week off on a high note with a 6-3 win over visiting Martinsburg (W.Va.) on Monday.

“A win is always good. We’ve got things we’ve got to work on. They’re young. I don’t have any seniors,” Warriors coach Trevor Johnson said. “They need to be more aggressive, that’s the bottom line. They’re timid, they don’t follow through, they’re not aggressive at the net — that’s stuff that we just continue to work on and hopefully that will get better.”

The Warriors (2-1) put themselves in good position to pick up their second win of the season early against Martinsburg (0-1), as Sherando held a 4-2 lead after the singles matches were completed.

Sherando freshman Abigail Sears played a key role in helping build that early advantage for the Warriors, as she battled through a right quadriceps injury to earn a hard-fought 10-7 win over Dominque Cincinnati at No. 2 singles.

“She was tough. I was getting ready to pull her off the court and give her an injury timeout but she was able to finish,” Johnson said. “She pulled her quadriceps early in the season, couldn’t play for a little while, a couple weeks. Now she’s back and hopefully she just maybe tweaked it a little bit.”

Sears and Cincinnati battled back and forth for most of their match, as the two traded wins until Cincinnati held a 7-6 lead. Sears then informed Johnson of her worsening injury before the start of the 14th game, but Sears insisted she was fine and remained on the court.

Sears, who was able to compensate for her injury by making Cincinnati scramble for most of the match, then reeled off four consecutive victories and broke serve to claim the win.

“It was a tough one. It did go back and forth every two games,” Sears said. “My leg started to hurt because I pulled my quad earlier in the season, but I just got tired of it going back and forth, so I guess I just started getting more aggressive on the court. A lot more serves started going in. I think there were a couple aces, but other than that I think that if you just make your opponent run they’re going to wear out.”

Martinsburg, playing its first match of the season, started strong on Monday as the Bulldogs’ Molly Beck quickly dispatched of Warriors sophomore Abigale Lukens, 10-2, in No. 1 singles to give Martinsburg a 1-0 lead.

The Bulldogs also got a win by Jessica Foreman in No. 3 singles, as she rallied from a 6-5 deficit against Sherando junior Olivia Scott to claim a 10-6 victory to end the singles portion of the match.

“I’m very proud of them. I thought they did a great job, very positive,” Bulldogs coach Tracy Housden said. “We got a lot of feedback from the parents saying how good at sportsmanship they were. That’s what I praise more than anything.”

Sherando sophomore Alisa van de Crommert — who is unbeaten in three singles matches this season — won 10-3 over Sarah Fizer at No. 4 singles on Monday. Junior Maria Acosta picked up a 10-4 win over Mora Garay at No. 5 singles for the Warriors, and Sherando junior Jiyon Kim breezed to a 10-1 win over Hannah Brown at No. 6 singles.

Martinsburg pulled within 4-3 when Beck and Cincinnati beat Lukens and Sears, 10-3, at No. 1 doubles, but Scott and van de Crommert sealed the win for Sherando with a 10-4 victory at No. 2 doubles over Foreman and Garay.

Acosta and Meredith Gregg capped the win for Sherando with a 10-5 victory over Fizer and Brown at No. 3 doubles.

“I’m pleased. We just work on the mechanics, the serving, the net play — and then thinking, that’s the big thing,” Johnson said.

Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or bfauber@nvdaily.com