Sherando sweeps Handley

WINCHESTER – Before Monday’s match at Handley, Sherando girls tennis coach Trevor Johnson told his Warriors that, if they won, he would color his goatee.

The Warriors won 8-1, marking the first time a Sherando girls team has swept the Winchester traditional power in school (founded in 1993) history and so Johnson, the seventh year coach, will be changing his look.

“Before the first time (a Sherando victory 5-4 at home), I told them I would shave my beard,” the coach said. “Now I have a goatee. I told them that if we won (at the Slaughter Family Tennis Pavilion) I would dye it. They want red, but I’m also going to ask to have green in there for (this week’s) Apple Blossom.”

The coach’s mustache is naturally red, and some of the beard is gray.

“We might put have him put some black polka dots on it,” said Sherando junior Abby Sears.

Sears and senior Abigale Lukens lost their No. 1 doubles set to Handley’s Meredith Watts and Lillian Smith 10-8, both Warriors won their singles matches. Sherando trumped Handley in that realm, winning all six individual matches in the Northwestern District, Conference 21 showdown.

Lukens beat Watts 10-6, No. 2 Alexa Venturato whipped Handley’s Olivia Truban 10-8, Sears knocked off the Judges’ Josey Sydnor at three; fourth Sherando player Sarah-Beth Blaney defeated Handley’s Smith 10-6. Sherando’s Alisa van de Crommert downed Judge Laurel Griffin 10-4 at five.The sixth match went to Warrior Meredith Gregg over Handley’s Cat Truban 10-5

The doubles team of Lukens and Sears lost their portion of the match to Watts and Smith; SHS’ Fortunato and Cromment did in Sydnor and Olivia Truban 10-6 and the team of Meredith Gregg and Kathryn Robertson whipped Emma Capitano and Anna Griffin 10-0.

Sherando, which was swept by Handley in 2015, returned four singles players from the 2015 to the ’16 team. Handley returned two seniors from the ’15 team that made it to the Group 4A semifinals.

The victory improved the Warriors record to 12-1 this season with the only setback to North Hagerstown (Maryland) 3-2 on the road on April 6.

“(The sweep) is an awesome testament to the team. I told them, it’s all up to them. We can do it. They just had to think we could do it,” said Johnson. “It just took them believing mentally.”

“It’s exciting,” added Lukens, a four-year starter who defeated Watts 10-5 at Sherando.

Lukens said her mental game had improved since meeting Handley’s Watts about six weeks ago. “I think this time I knew what to expect. I learned something and it was just about checking my emotions. I haven’t always been so good at that. I was as a freshman, but as a sophomore and junior, I was more emotional. I’ve tried to check that because it really doesn’t do many any good,” said Lukens.

“Abigale was just unbelievable,” said Johnson. I just told her, ‘You battled all the way.’ Meredith hit some good shots, so Abigale had to go after them.

Handley dropped to 3-3 in defeat.

“We made mistakes and they were just better today,” said Judges coach Martha Johnson.