By Tommy Keeler Jr.
STEPHENS CITY -- Sherando's young girls tennis squad gained some valuable experience Monday. Maybe even more importantly, the Warriors picked up a win.
Sherando pulled out several close matches en route to a 5-1 Conference 21 quarterfinal win over Heritage at Sherando.
"We have a really young team," Sherando sophomore Abigale Lukens said. "But, we work well together, and over the next couple years we're just going to get stronger. So, I'm excited about that."
Sherando (10-7) rallied from a set down in two of the singles matches. At No. 4, Alisa van de Crommert lost the first set to Heritage's Payton Farmer, but rallied for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 win.
"Alisa [van de Crommert] told me, she said, 'Coach I figured it out. I know what to do,'" Sherando coach Trevor Johnson said. "She won 6-1, 6-0 [in the last two sets], so obviously she did figure it out. I'll go over and say, 'Do you need anything. You want to talk about it. You know what you need to do,' and she was like, 'I got this, I know what I need to do.' It's nice that they can figure things out sometimes on their own."
Lukens clinched the team victory with her 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Heritage's Allie Menefee.
"I just had to focus," Lukens said. "The first [set] I was just not really prepared, but then I got my act together and played harder. I kind of played the way she was playing. She was just pushing, and so I just pushed back."
Johnson said his team had probably only played two or three tiebreakers all season, but against Heritage (4-11) they played three and won two of them.
At No. 5, Maria Acosta won 7-6, 6-3 over Heritage's Rebecca Farmer. At No. 6, Sherando's Jiyon Kim beat Heritage's Jackie Monroy, 7-6 (4), 7-5.
Kim was down 5-2 in the second set, but rallied for five straight games to clinch the match.
"Obviously, I was really nervous [when she was down]," Johnson said. "But, we had talked about what she needed to do. She battled back, and I can't be more proud of her. She did a nice job."
At No. 2, freshman Abigail Sears beat Heritage's Lyna Lam, 6-4, 6-0. Sherando junior Olivia Scott lost to Heritage's Swati Perepa, 6-0, 7-6 (10).
The Warriors will play the winner of Monday's Millbrook-Dominion match on Wednesday in the conference semifinals with a regional berth on the line.
Sherando has no seniors on the team, and just two juniors in the starting lineup. Johnson said he's been very happy with his young team this season.
"I keep telling them if they play a lot in the offseason, they're going to just get better and better and better," Johnson said.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or email@example.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd