Playoffs to ramp up as regular season comes to a close for local teams

Sherando's Sean Buono gets a kick downfield as Handley's Andrew McIntyre, center, and Chris Nerangis, right, defend during boys soccer action on Thursday. Rich Cooley/Daily

Last week marked the official start of the playoffs for a handful of local teams, and this week’s action will build on what has already started while many other high school programs will join the postseason fray.

The tennis conference playoffs, most of which began last week, will pick up steam, and all six local high school track and field teams will compete in their respective conference meets. The tournaments for baseball, softball and soccer also will begin for Conference 21 West, Conference 28 and Conference 44 over the next few days.

Some teams, including Sherando’s baseball, boys soccer and girls tennis programs, have already locked up No. 1 seeds in their respective tournaments and will enjoy first-round byes. The Warriors’ baseball team returns to action Friday in the Conference 21 West semifinal game, as does Sherando’s boys soccer team, which locked up the conference’s top seed and an automatic regional berth with a 0-0 draw against Handley last Thursday.

“First thing will be recovery and then we’ll just have to get back going the next day at practice and clean this up because we know we’ve gotta get better and get ready for the tournament and then also regions,” Warriors boys soccer coach Patrick Anderson said after last week’s match.

“It’s nice to know that you can play in the tournament – you want the number one seed (in the regional tournament) of course because then you get to host in the first round, but at least we know we’re in. Our foot’s in the door and that’s always our goal every year, to get to that point.”

Track and field

Three local teams – Central, Strasburg and Warren County – began their playoffs in an official capacity with the Bull Run District championships last Wednesday but the real deal begins today with a pair of conference meets.

Skyline and Warren County will travel to Culpeper for the Conference 28 track and field championships at noon today, while Stonewall Jackson will host the Conference 44 meet beginning at 2 p.m.

Strasburg will host Central and the rest of the Conference 35 field for that conference’s meet at 3 p.m. Tuesday, and Sherando will take part in the Conference 21 West championships on Thursday at Millbrook.

Baseball

The regular season will come to an end this week but not before some key matchups take place that could have playoff implications.

Stonewall Jackson, which was in play for the top seed in the Conference 44 tournament – which begins Friday – as late as last Tuesday, according to head coach Mike Lenox, will play back-to-back home conference games today and Tuesday against Riverheads and Luray.

Skyline (today at home against Millbrook) and Warren County (Tuesday at Clarke County) each play their regular season finales this week before starting the Conference 28 tournament on Thursday.

Strasburg and Central each play two games over the next four days, including a head-to-head matchup between the two Shenandoah County rivals in Strasburg on Wednesday. Central also hosts Madison County in another Conference 35 game on Tuesday.

Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy will start play in the Mason-Dixon Christian Conference (MDCC) tournament, which begins today.

Softball

Sherando, which has already completed its regular season, will return to action in the first round of the Conference 21 West tournament on Wednesday as the third seed hosting No. 6 Handley. The winner advances to Friday’s semifinal game against No. 2 James Wood.

Warren County travels to Culpeper County today and to Clarke County on Tuesday, and Skyline hosts Millbrook today as both teams get set for the Conference 28 quarterfinals on Thursday.

Stonewall, like the Generals’ baseball team, hosts Riverheads and Luray today and Tuesday before the start of the Conference 44 tournament later this week.

Central will host Madison County on Tuesday before traveling to Strasburg on Wednesday.

Boys soccer

Skyline, which had its three-match winning streak snapped last Friday in a loss to James Wood, closes out its regular season with a home game against Millbrook today, while Warren County hosts Clarke County on Tuesday. Both Front Royal schools will start the Conference 28 tournament on Thursday, with Warren County already locked into a road game at Riverside.

Stonewall will host Luray and Riverheads on Tuesday and Wednesday before starting the Conference 44 quarterfinals Friday.

Central travels to Madison County on Tuesday and hosts Strasburg on Thursday. The Rams will host Rappahannock County on Wednesday.

Girls soccer

Sherando is still in play for the second seed and a first-round bye in the Conference 21 West tournament, with its fate to be decided by the Handley-James Wood match today. A James Wood win would put those three teams into a three-way tie for second place, and the tournament’s second seed would be determined by random drawing.

Skyline (today at Millbrook) and Warren County (Tuesday at Clarke County) each hit the road to wrap up the regular season before the Conference 28 tournament.

Stonewall travels to Luray (Tuesday) and Riverheads (Thursday) and begins the Conference 44 tournament Friday, and Central and Strasburg will meet up in Strasburg on Wednesday.

SVCA will also compete in the MDCC tournament this week.

Tennis

The start of the Conference 21 West tournaments for boys and girls got postponed last week, and things will get restarted this week with the quarterfinals today. Sherando’s boys are the sixth seed and travel to Woodgrove today, while the Warriors’ girls get a first-round bye with their top overall seed and will play the James Wood/Woodgrove winner on Tuesday in the semis.

Central’s boys host Rappahannock County in the Conference 35 semifinals today, and Stonewall’s girls host William Campbell in the semifinal round of the Conference 44 tournament.

In the girls’ Conference 35 semis, Central will travel to Clarke County on Tuesday.

Individual singles and doubles for Conference 21 West, Conference 28 and Conference 35 will also take place later this week.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com

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