Falcons bounce back, sweep Wildcats
FRONT ROYAL — Central and Warren County have young boys tennis squads this season. The Falcons have a little more experience in their lineup, and that showed when the two teams met on Wednesday.
The Falcons were able to overcome slow starts in a few matches and pull out a 9-0 victory over the Wildcats in Bull Run District action.
Central suffered a tough 5-4 loss to Skyline on Monday, and the team was happy to bounce back with a win.
“We wanted the win pretty badly, especially coming off the loss to Skyline,” Central coach Luke Robinson said. “… I told them on the bus on the way over here, I was like guys we need this badly. I need to see you playing and trying. So I’m pretty happy.”
The Falcons (3-6, 2-0 Bull Run) have been to regionals in back-to-back seasons, but lost their top two players from last year due to graduation. Central senior Sam Snarr, who was expected to be one of the team’s top players this year has been out with an injury all season. Robinson said Snarr could be back as early as next week.
The injury has forced players to play up a position on a team with only three players back from last year’s top six. The Falcons have only two seniors in their top six with three juniors and one sophomore.
“We’ve been hitting it pretty hard (in practice). Each and every one of them, especially the guys that have never played before, they’re playing better and better every day,” Robinson said. “… I’ve seen great improvements in all of them.”
Central senior Brandon Davis was off the court quickly at No. 4 singles. He defeated Warren County’s Cameron Woodward, 10-0 in just 25 minutes.
“I felt like I hit my forehand really well. My serves were going in,” Davis said. “It felt good to start the team off on a good note.”
Most of the other matches were very close at the beginning. At No. 2 singles, Central’s Matt Bromley led 3-2, but then won seven of the last eight games to defeat Warren County’s Brady Bryant, 10-3.
“I started out a little slow,” Bromley said. “I gave him a few games, and then I got comfortable playing with his serve and also played my game.”
Central’s Aaron Taff lost the first game of the match, but then won 10 in a row against Warren County’s Tristen Turner.
“Started off a little slow, but I think that was (Turner) getting in my head, and I was playing down to his level,” Taff said. “Then I finally started playing my game, and then I got going there and that really helped.”
Central’s Josh Sherman trailed 3-2 early in his match, but then rallied for a 10-3 win over Jon Long-Leary at No. 3 singles.
Will Lam won 10-3 at No. 5 singles over Warren County’s Wyatt Payne. Central’s Tommy Lam defeated John Shipe, 10-7, at No. 6 singles.
Central defeated Warren County, 9-0, on April 6, but Warren County coach Stephen Tickal said he was happy with how his team played.
“I think we played a lot better this time,” Tickal said. “The score doesn’t necessarily reflect that, but my team is getting better. I’m trying to encourage them to play in the offseason. It shows that they play in the offseason, and they’re more consistent.”
Taff and Bromley beat Turner and Bryant, 10-7, at No. 1 doubles. At No. 2 doubles, Sherman and Davis defeated Long-Leary and Woodward, 10-6. Central’s Jacob Scibelli and Tommy Lam beat Warren County’s Payne and Tony Machado, 10-7, at No. 3 doubles.
The Wildcats (0-7, 0-2 Bull Run) have only two seniors on the team, and have one freshman and one sophomore in the top six. Tickal said he was happy with the way his team competed.
“They definitely played a lot stronger than last time,” Tickal said. “Last time they weren’t quite so close, and this time they were closer. That shows that we’ve progressed a lot during the season.”
The Falcons still have some big matches ahead, including two matches each against Conference 35 rivals Clarke County and George Mason. The players are confident that they will enjoy more success as the season goes on.
“I feel like there’s definitely room to improve. There’s always room to improve,” Taff said. “I feel like we’ve gotten a ton better since the beginning of the season, and we’re definitely going to win some more matches.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org