Warriors fall short in girls tennis state final

Kathryn Robertson

Sherando’s record-breaking season came to an end Saturday in the Group 4A girls tennis state final.

The Warriors pushed the match to doubles, but fell, 5-1, to undefeated Hanover on the courts at Roanoke College in Salem.

“I could not have been more proud of the way the girls battled,” Sherando coach Trevor Johnson said Saturday afternoon in a phone interview. “Hanover has a very deep, powerful team. I could not have been more proud of the way the girls played.”

The Warriors finished with a 22-1 record on the season, setting a new school record for wins in a season. It was the first girls tennis state final for Sherando in school history.

Hanover finished the season 22-0, and didn’t lose more than three individual matches in a team match all season.

The Hawks could have lost three against the Warriors, as Sherando put up a strong fight in many of the singles matches.

Sherando junior Kathryn Robertson won her singles match at No. 4 singles, saving three match points along the way.

Robertson beat Georgia Temple, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-2.

Johnson said Robertson trailed 5-4 in the second set, and was down 40-0 and battled back to even at 5-5 before winning the second set.

“I told her on that next changeover, ‘you got this set now and you’re going to win the third set 6-1 or 6-2,'” Johnson said. “(Temple) was exhausted.”

The boys and girls Group 4A state team finals were both held at Roanoke College. However, there are only eight courts there so only four singles matches could take place at a time for both boys and girls.

Hanover took the early lead as Stephanie Broussard beat Alexa Veturato, 6-0, 6-1, at No. 1 singles.

Johnson said Broussard, who won the Group 4A individual singles and doubles titles this week, is playing tennis at West Virginia University next year.

He said that he was happy with the way Venturato, who missed much of the season due to a hip injury, played against Broussard.

“Venturato battled, and she gave her a match,” Johnson said. “The score may not have shown it, but many of the games went to deuce. She did a great job. I’m glad she was able to come back and play the last four matches with us.”

The matches at No. 2, 3 and 4 singles all went three sets. At No. 2, Sherando senior Abby Sears lost 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 to Madison Moore.

Johnson said Sears led 5-4 in the first set, before losing the last four games but came back strong in the second set.

At No. 3 singles, Sherando junior Sarah-Beth Blaney lost 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-1 to Mattie Moon. Johnson said he was proud of the way Blaney fought back after losing the opening set.

At No. 5 singles, Hanover’s Brooke Kozelskis beat Sherando senior Meredith Gregg, 6-1, 6-1.

Sherando freshman Maddy Woolover lost the first set at No. 6 singles to Morgan Kozelskis, 7-5. However, Johnson said that Woolever was leading in the second set when the team match ended.

The Hawks clinched the state title with a win at No. 1 doubles as Broussard and Moore beat Sears and Robertson, 6-0, 6-0. Broussard and Moore beat Sears and Robertson in the Group 4A individual doubles state semifinals on Friday. The Hanover pair went on to win the state title in doubles.

Sherando loses only two of its top six singles players from this year’s squad. The Warriors lost in the state semifinals last year.

Johnson said he was very proud of the way his players performed.

“I told my girls beforehand I knew it was going to be a battle,” Johnson said. “I told them as long as they played hard and played their best I would be happy — and they did.”