Warriors fall to Pioneers in conference tourney

Sherando's Cameron Spieles returns a volley from Millbrook's Haydon Wielfong. Rich Cooley/Daily

WINCHESTER – Sherando was able to be competitive at times with Millbrook on Friday, but the Warriors couldn’t pull out most of the key points.

Sherando fell 5-0 to Millbrook in the Conference 21 West boys tennis tournament quarterfinals. Millbrook will play at Harrisonburg on Monday in the tournament semifinals.

“We just didn’t win the big points – that’s all,” Sherando boys tennis coach Steve Jennings said. “If we could just win those big points we would have better scores, because they play well but when it gets down to the last point they have difficulty getting over that hill.”

Sherando’s No. 1 singles player Cameron Spieles was an example of that in his match against Millbrook’s Hayden Wilfong.

Late in the first set, Spieles and Wilfong played a long game in which Wilfong pulled it out to close out the set, 6-3.

Sherando's Seth Anton stretches to return a volley from Millbrook's Nathan Wiens during their match Friday afternoon in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

“That was really big, because I know that if I won (that game), force it to go 5-4 and I was serving, it would have shifted all the momentum,” Spieles said. “But Hayden played really well today and won that game.”

Wilfong was able to win the second set, 6-1, to close out the match.

Millbrook’s Zack Clark gave the Pioneers a 1-0 lead with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Sherando’s Dwayne Passerini at No. 3 singles.

At No. 2, Millbrook’s Nathan Wiens beat Seth Anton, 6-1, 6-3, and at No. 6, Millbrook’s Ryan McCarty defeated Tucker Myers, 6-2, 6-0 for a 3-0 lead.

After Wilfong’s win at No. 1, Millbrook’s Josh Dalton beat Jake Baggett, 6-2, 6-3, to clinch the team win.

The second set was on serve after the first seven games, but Dalton broke Baggett’s serve and then held serve to seal the victory.

“I think we could have won at No. 4,” Jennings said. “(Baggett) mentally got discombobulated out there. There were outside influences that were disturbing him. So I think if he could have focused more, I think that he could have played better.”

Sherando’s Jonathan Elkins won the first set against Millbrook’s Alex Clippinger, 7-6 (5), and was leading in the second set when play was halted due to Millbrook clinching the match.

“(Elkins) was playing really, really well,” Jennings said. “He played a whole lot more consistent today than I’ve ever seen him play. So I was real happy about that.”

The Pioneers (13-3) won both regular season meetings between the two teams, 8-1. Millbrook coach Michael Arney said that he was very happy with how his team played against the Warriors on Friday.

“On five of them we won in two straight sets. So that’s always a nice way to win your first conference play,” Arney said. “… All the local teams are competitive. So you never know what’s going to happen until you show up and play the game. I’m pleased with the results.”

Arney said that the Pioneers beat Harrisonburg in the first match of the season, but he knows it will not be easy to beat them again.

“We beat them 6-3, but we had to work for it and it’s been a whole season since then,” Arney said. “I know we can beat them. We’re just going to have to do it.”

Despite the season coming to an end, Jennings said he was very happy with how the Warriors (6-10) did this season.

“I thought they did better than what was anticipated of them, because we were kind of short in our depth,” Jennings said. “I think they did really well. I was happy. From our first match to now they’ve improved a lot.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com