By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WINCHESTER -- Playing without one of its regular starters, Sherando fought hard against Heritage in Monday's boys tennis Conference 21 quarterfinals.
In the end the Warriors came up a little short in a 5-2 loss to the Pride at James Wood High School.
Sherando was playing without Quintin DeGroot, who was out due to bronchitis. Drew Graber took his place at the No. 5 singles spot and performed well, but came up short in his match.
"He played really well. He played really well that first set. He won 7-5, then he just got tired," Sherando coach Steve Jennings said of Graber. "You could just see the energy draining out of him."
Graber took the first set from Heritage's Jack Miller, 7-5, and led 4-3 in the second set. However, Miller won 10 of the last 11 games, for a 5-7, 7-5, 6-1 victory.
The win at No. 5 singles gave the Pride (5-10) a 4-2 lead heading into the doubles.
Sherando was up at No 1 and 2 doubles, when the team match ended. Heritage's Oliver Stayrooy and Miller beat Graber and Cameron Spieles, 6-2, 6-2 to clinch the team win for the Pride.
"I know that if we could have gotten that 3-3 split [in singles], we could have beat them in doubles," Jennings said. "My 1 and 2 [doubles] were really playing well.
"I'm happy with the way they played. We had a winning season."
The Warriors (8-5) picked up wins at No. 1 and No. 4 singles. Sherando's Matt Blaney beat Heritage's Alex Whitehouse, 6-4, 6-2 at No. 1 singles.
Blaney said once he figured out Whitehouse's game he took control of the match.
"I ran him around. I kept him from getting set up," Blaney said. "He's a great player if you give him sitters, and let him rip it. But I kept him from doing that today. I did my job and it worked out."
Sherando also got a victory from Ben Hulver at No. 4 singles, 6-3, 6-1, over Heritage's Stayrooy.
"He played really well," Jennings said of Hulver. "I think that was the best I've seen him play in singles. He did well. He cut down on a lot of errors, and he really snapped that ball really hard in places. He had some nice strokes."
Heritage's Ricky Harrell beat Sherando's Nik Mikus, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 2 singles. Heritage's Ryan Harrell beat Sherando's Jared van de Crommert, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 3 singles. Heritage's Jack Ray beat Sherando's Spieles, 6-1, 6-1 at No. 6 singles.
Despite the loss the Warriors were happy with their season. Sherando finished 8-5 with a young squad. Blaney and van de Crommert are the only seniors on the team.
"It was a good season," Jennings said. "I'm proud of them. I thought they did real well considering the winter, the snow, not being able to go outside to hit. I thought they did a good job -- happy with their results.
"I was very excited about how they played, and the balance of the players that we had."
"We had a really young team," Blaney said. "We did really well. I'm really proud of them. We all worked together to get to the point that we got to."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or email@example.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd