Ferst, Venable fall in Conference 28 semis

By Tommy Keeler Jr.

FRONT ROYAL — Warren County’s Madison Ferst and Skyline’s Kaylee Venable had tough assignments on Wednesday. The local pair each had to play very tough opponents from the Loudoun County area in the Conference 28 individual singles tournament.

Each one had their season come to an end, but both still had good reason to be proud after the match.

Venable lost to Loudoun Valley’s Maddy Coffman, 6-1, 6-0, while Ferst lost to John Champe’s Anahita Moseberry, 6-1, 6-0 in the semifinals. Coffman won the final, 6-0, 6-0. The tournament was moved from Skyline High School indoors to Dominion Health and Fitness Center in Front Royal.

Ferst said she is still recovering from an arm injury she suffered a few weeks ago, but she was still happy with how she played.

“I think I played really well. I played my best,” Ferst said. “I tried to my hardest.”

Ferst, a senior, won the first game of the match, but Moseberry then ran off 12 straight games. The pair went to deuce several times, but it was Moseberry to come up with the big points to win the games.

“We just couldn’t complete at the end,” Warren County coach Jeannie Tallent said. “We’d go to deuce and we just couldn’t complete it — and that’s all right. I’m proud of [Ferst]. She played as hard as she could.”

Moseberry was able to finish the match off with a backhand winner to end the 52-minute match.

Venable, a freshman, had her hands full against the big serve and big groundstrokes of Coffman, who transferred from Houston, Texas this year. Venable said she was happy to play with a player like Coffman.

“I definitely like playing players that are at my level or above my level. It helps you improve,” Venable said. “I felt like I played good against her. She’s a really confident player, and I think we had some nice rallies going.”

Skyline coach John Natalie said he was very happy with how Venable played against strong competition.

“[Coffman is] about as good as you’re going to see around here,” Natalie said. “Kaylee thought she played better today than the first time they met, and I thought she played better today than the first time they met. She frustrated her a couple times.”

Venable will be back in action again on Friday in the doubles semifinals as Skyline will play Central in the doubles semifinals.

Venable said she’s very happy with the season she’s had as a freshman.

“I think I’ve improved more than I thought I would. I’m definitely changing my game a lot. From eighth grade to how I played now is a big difference,” Venable said. “So, hopefully there will be another big difference next year. …I’ve worked on my serve. I’ve just worked on my groundstrokes, angles, setting everything up.”

Warren County will not be in the doubles, but Ferst and her teammates will be playing in the team competition Monday. The Wildcats, who won the Conference 28 title earlier this week, will host Kettle Run in the Region 3A East quarterfinals.

“I’m really excited,” Ferst said. “I hope that we can win it. I think that we can. I’m really confident in my team, and whatever happens, happens — at least we won our conference.”

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd