E.C. Glass edges Sherando girls; both move on

STEPHENS CITY – When Sherando beat Handley the first time this year, Warriors girls’ tennis coach Trevor Johnson remembered his adversary saying she thought the Judges’ had had their chances.

The 5-4 regular season victory by the Frederick County school over the City of Winchester opponent was a turning point for the Warriors who had lost their only match of the season days earlier. They had not lost again until Friday.

By virtue of their 5-4 defeat at the hands of state power E.C. Glass on Friday, the Warriors will play at Clover Hill High School vs. Midlothian at noon on Monday.

Because Sherando lost to the Hilltoppers in the Region 4A West championships at the SHS courts, it must travel. Wednesday’s winners will return to Lynchburg to host Hanover.

This time it was Sherando coach Johnson who was lamenting a close loss, matching Handley coach Martha Johnson’s reaction way back on April 12.

“We beat Handley but I remember reading where (coach Martha Johnson) thought they had their chances to win it. That’s the way I feel today. We had our chances. We might have been able to close them out in singles, but it was not to be and so we move on,” said Trevor Johnson.

Sherando has never experienced a 17-2 record, not to mention making the state 4A Final Four; so this is a season of firsts for the Warriors, who found themselves in the regionals for the first time.

“We didn’t play our best in some situations. I saw where we could have been better. So that’s (the) message to the girls today,” said Sherando’s Johnson.

The Warriors acquitted themselves well against E.C. Glass, a school which shows three state championships.

Abby Sears defeated Hilltopper Sarah Phillips 6-1, 6-4; Sarah-Beth Blaney trimmed Libby Davidson 6-3, 6-0; Meredith Gregg whipped Melissa Poletti 5-7, 6-2 and 6-3 to split the singles sets with Glass 3-3.

Freshman Alexa Venturato and senior Alisa van de Crommert dropped Glass’ Libby Davidson and Spencer Kayes 6-1, 6-2, but in the deciding match of the day the Hilltopper team of Phillips and Poletti edged Gregg and Kathryn Robertson 5-7, 7-5 and 7-6.

The close encounter at No. 3 doubles was among the longest matches in a day that started at 10 a.m. with both teams dueling and continued until about 4 p.m. It was in the high 80s most of the day.

“Tennis at E.C. Glass is a tradition. That’s good and bad. It’s good because it brings players into the program, but you have to live up to expectations,” said No. 1-player Julia Nelligan who beat Sherando senior Abigale Lukens 6-1, 6-0.

Nelligan teamed Taylor Weaver to down Lukens and Sears 7-6 (7-3) and 6-3.

Weaver knocked off Sherando’s Venturato at 2: 7-6, 6-3, and Kayes tripped van de Crommert 5-7, 6-4 and 7-6 (7-5) in a match that lasted almost three hours.

“Overall, I think this is a good day because all our work has paid off,” said Lukens.

While Lukens and her team set the tone for the regular season, when Sherando went undefeated against Handley in winning the conference, the team depth was evident in its last two matches.

Sherando defeated Salem 5-2 to earn the right to play Glass

“As a team, we want to just keeping going but also to have fun,” said Lukens.

School let out for the summer at Sherando on the day of this match. Lukens and van de Crommert will walk at graduation Saturday and then board a bus at 7 a.m. Monday for the showdown with Midlothian at Clover Hill.