Falcons’ Kim, Smith advance to regionals in doubles

Michelle Kim Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK – Central’s Michelle Kim made it a clean sweep Friday.

The Central freshman advanced to regionals in a third event as she and teammate Madison Smith made it to the Bull Run District individual doubles final held at Woodstock’s W.O. Riley Park. The pair lost to George Mason’s Maria Morris and Ciel Park, 6-1, 6-1, in the final, but both teams advance to the regional tourney.

“I’m glad we’re going to regionals,” Kim said.“And hopefully, we can get ready for that and come back better than today.”

Earlier this week Central advanced to regionals as a team, and Kim advanced to the regional tourney in individual singles.

Kim and Smith had defeated Morris and Park twice this season but struggled from the beginning in Friday’s final.

Madison Smith Rich Cooley/Daily

“They’re a good team,” Smith said. “I don’t think we had the right mindset, maybe we needed to focus more. I think it was an off day for us – for this round.”

“They came out strong, and I think that kind of threw us off,” Kim added.

Kim and Smith cruised into the finals with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over George Mason’s Carolyn Baek and Claire Doss.

“It was one of our best matches,” Smith said of the semifinals. “We were working well together, and we were poaching well at the net. We just worked well together.”

Central’s Mackenzie Ryman and Lander Barbour reached the semifinals of the doubles tourney with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Clarke County’s Barbara Fairbanks and Julia Callender.

Mackenzie Ryman Rich Cooley/Daily

“We started off a little rough,” Barbour said. “I think we just needed to warm up. We knew it was good competition, but we knew we could play with them.”

“I think we started realizing how they work as a doubles team together and where they were going to move,” Ryman added. “So then we were able to set up the shot to win the point.”

In the semifinals, Ryman and Barbour lost to Morris and Park, 6-2, 6-1. Ryman and Barbour led 2-0 to start the match.

“They’re really good,” Barbour said. “I think we played really good against them. We came in nervous, but I think we played good with them.”

Central coach Matt Smith said he was very pleased with how Ryman and Barbour played throughout the day.

Lander Barbour Rich Cooley/Daily

“In their semifinal match, I actually thought they played well,” Matt Smith said. “They just faced a better team, a little more skill. But I was happy with what I saw as a progression for this year. And it was a good kind of ending note on that doubles.”

Kim and Madison Smith will play Stuarts Draft’s Grace and Caroline Cheung in the Region 2B individual doubles semifinals in two weeks at Wilson Memorial High School. The winner of that match will go on  to the state tournament.

Kim and Madison Smith’s loss in the finals was only their second of the season in doubles.

“Today was a good learning experience,” Kim said. “Even though we lost, we know what we need to work on now and improve in time for regionals.”