Warriors fall in semifinals

Abigale Lukens

MIDLOTHIAN — Sherando’s historical season come to an end on Monday.

The Warriors fell 5-0 to two-time defending Group 4A state champion Midlothian in the Group 4A girls tennis state semifinals. The match was played at Clover Hill High School due to Midlothian’s boys tennis team also hosting a match on Monday.

“They seemed fresh. My girls didn’t seem fresh,” Sherando coach Trevor Johnson said. “Basically all the girls were just hitting the ball, hitting the ball back, hitting the ball back. You’re not going to win points like that. You got to take advantage and you got to attack. They didn’t do that.”

The Warriors (17-3) were coming off a 5-4 loss to E.C. Glass on Friday in the regional final, while Midlothian hadn’t played in over a week.

Midlothian got off to quick starts in five of the six matches and didn’t look back.

Midlothian’s Courtney Price won, 6-0, 6-1, over Sherando’s Abby Sears at No. 3 singles in 45 minutes.

The final four matches were finished within three minutes of each other, to quickly end Sherando’s season.

Midlothian’s Brooke Gore beat Sherando’s Alisa van de Crommert, 6-2, 6-0., at No. 5 singles. Early on van de Crommert was able to keep the score close, but Gore was able to win 11 of the last 12 games.

“I thought the girls really stepped up and played beautifully. I was very pleased,” Midlothian coach Ben Pomeroy said. “We’ve worked hard since February 22 to get to this week. It’s a big week for us. The state semifinals (Monday), we have two doubles teams in the state semifinals on Friday and then the state championship will be Saturday. It’s a really big week for us. We’ve been looking forward to it.”

Midlothian’s Grace Clarke beat Sherando freshman Alexa Venturato, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 2 singles, to extend the lead to 3-0. Midlothian’s Katharina Blank beat Sherando’s Meredith Gregg, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 6 singles, for a 4-0 lead.

The Trojans clinched the state final berth less than a minute later as Julia Deaver beat Sarah-Beth Blaney, 6-0, 6-2, at No. 4 singles. Blaney led 2-1 early in the second set, but Deaver rallied for the last five games.

“She was hitting slice all the time on every shot. I told her what you need to do is you need to hit the slice on the drop shot and bring her in and then rip your topspin forehand or backhand,” Johnson said of Blaney. “Then she did that and she won some easy points, and I was like see what a difference but by that point she was already behind too far. She couldn’t overcome that. She did a good job. She was figuring things out.”

One real bright spot for Sherando was the play of senior Abigale Lukens, who won the first set at No. 1 singles over Sarah Holland. The two had just started the second set, when the Trojans clinched the team victory.

“She really frustrated that girl,” Johnson said. “Lukens attacked, Lukens was aggressive. She hit passing shots. She brought the girl in and she ripped her down the lines. She was really doing what she needed to do to frustrate that girl. She was taking it to her, versus on all the other courts it was the other way around.”

The Trojans will play Hanover, a 5-0 winner over E.C. Glass in Monday’s other state semifinal, on Saturday at Liberty University. It will be a rematch of last year’s final. The two teams have also met several times this year with Midlothian coming out on top each time.

“So far we’ve played Hanover in the conference finals and region finals. … It’s going to be a tough match,” Pomeroy said. “We’ve had four matches against them that could have went either way. …We’re injury free and that’s so important going into the last part of the season. I feel the girls are feeling good about themselves, feeling good about their games. We’re pretty confident about what’s going on right now.”

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