Snarr, Taff lead Falcons to regional berth
WOODSTOCK – Central boys tennis coach Luke Robinson thought about splitting up the doubles tandem of Sam Snarr and Aaron Taff when they were struggling a little bit earlier this year. After Thursday night’s performance, Robinson is glad he stuck with them.
Snarr and Taff pulled out a decisive third set at No. 2 doubles to help lead the Falcons to a 5-4 victory over Rock Ridge in the Conference 28 boys tennis semifinals and with it clinch a Region 3A East berth.
“In the beginning of the season we were a little shaky, but now we’re both playing the best we’ve played all year,” Taff said.
Robinson said even three weeks ago he was considering switching them, but they have been playing really well since then.
“They’ve been coming on and playing really well together, and starting to realize more how to play as a team,” Robinson said. “I’m proud of them. They did a great job.”
Snarr and Taff, who also each won their singles matches, took the first set over Rock Ridge’s Daniel Le and Sarin Ansari and led 3-2 in the second set. However, the Rock Ridge pair rallied and eventually won the set in a tiebreak.
“We got up early on them, and we thought we had it in the bag but they came back,” Snarr said. “They had a little more energy than we thought.”
The third set was tied 1-1, but Snarr and Taff won the next three games to take control of the set. Leading 4-1, the No. 1 doubles finished leaving the team match tied at 4-4.
“[At that point], I just started blocking everything out and playing my game,” Taff said.
They were able to finish things off for a 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-2 victory. The match was tied 3-3 after singles, but Central took a 4-3 lead with a win at No. 3 doubles.
Central’s Austin Sherman and Brandon Davis beat Rock Ridge’s Rosrik Kudum and Santosh Krishoun, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 to give the Falcons the lead.
“When they had split sets I felt pretty good, because normally when they split sets they win,” Robinson said of Sherman and Davis.
Rock Ridge’s Everett Chou and Ethan McFerren beat Central’s Sam Barbour and Bobby Loveland, 7-6 (10), 7-6 (3), to even things at 4-4.
Central took an early lead in singles play. The Falcons won matches at No. 3 and 4 singles.
Central’s Taff won 6-0, 6-2 over Ansari at No. 4, and then nine minutes later Snarr beat Le, 6-2, 6-4 at No. 3.
Rock Ridge’s Kudum beat Sherman, 7-6 (4), 6-2 to cut the lead to 2-1.
Three matches went to a third set. At No. 2 singles, Rock Ridge’s McFerren beat Loveland, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to even the team score at 2-2.
At No. 1, Central’s Barbour rallied in the third set to give the Falcons a 3-2 edge. Barbour trailed 4-3, but responded with the final three games for a 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-3 victory over Chou.
Rock Ridge’s Krishoun knocked off Davis, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, in two hours and 14 minutes to even things after singles.
The Falcons will play either John Champe or Loudoun Valley on Monday in the Conference 28 final. It’s the second straight regional berth for the Falcons.
Despite the win, the team isn’t satisfied.
“It feels good, but we have a lot of work to do if we want to go far,” Taff said.
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org