Warriors secure region berth, knock off Falcons

Maddy Woolever Rich Cooley/Daily

STEPHENS CITY – Maddy Woolever was so close to the finish line she could taste it.

The Sherando sophomore was one point from victory when rain halted play Monday in the Northwestern District girls tennis semifinals. The match was moved from Sherando to indoors at Stonebrook Club in Winchester and it didn’t take long for Woolever to finish things off and send her team back to regionals.

“It was definitely tough switching,” Woolever said. “I never really come to Stonebrook, so I didn’t know where anything was or where I was going. So I had to get someone else to help me. Definitely, having (my teammates) sitting in the window (upstairs) watching me was (nerve-wracking). But it ended up being OK in the end.”

She needed seven points to close out the match at Stonebrook, but Woolever finished off a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over Keely Scott at No. 3 singles.

Woolever said that a talk she had with Sherando coach Trevor Johnson helped turn things around.

“The first set, personally, I think was pretty rough,” Woolever said. “I was a little scared to go out and play at first. (Johnson) talked to me and I felt a little more confidence after that. And I believed in myself that I could do it and that really helped a lot. And I think that was the biggest factor, at least for me, that helped me win today.”

The Warriors led 2-1 when play was halted due to rain. However, Fauquier’s Walker Evans suffered an injury at the end of the second set of her match at No. 1 singles with Kathryn Robertson and had to default. Evans and Robertson had split the first two sets right before the rain came.

Due to the injury, Evans also had to default at No. 2 doubles, where she was scheduled to play with teammate Evie Leary. The two defaults gave Sherando a 4-1 lead.

The Warriors (16-2) started off strong with wins at No. 5 and 6 singles.

Freshman Emily Loy beat Sophie Bartholomaus, 6-0, 6-2 at No. 5 singles. Loy had played two close matches with Bartholomaus in the regular season, winning one and losing one.

“I think I was more relaxed,” Loy said. “I knew I could do it now. I had a lot more confidence, and I think that just really paid off.”

At No. 6 singles, freshman Addy Gannon won her match over Melanie Turner, 6-3, 6-3.

Johnson said that he was very proud of Loy and Gannon and the progress they have made this season.

“As freshmen at 5 and 6 to play the way they did – they did a wonderful job,” Johnson said of Loy and Gannon. “The first time they played (Fauquier) they both lost, and the second time they were closer matches but they won. And then this time they both won pretty easily. So they have both improved every time, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Fauquier’s Leary beat Sherando’s Kaitlyn Duncan, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 4 singles to cut the team score to 2-1. Sherando’s Alexa Venturato won the first set over Jennifer Adgate, 6-3, at No. 2 singles. However, Adgate took the second set, 6-3, and the two were tied at 2-2 in the third set when the rain came.

The Warriors beat Fauquier 5-4 and 8-1 during the regular season.

Sherando will play at Handley today in the district finals at 3 p.m. The Warriors lost twice to Handley this season, 8-1 and 6-3. Sherando has already secured a berth in next week’s Region 4C tournament.

The Warriors were the state runners-up last year, but have a very young squad this season. Johnson said he’s very pleased with how his team has played.

“We’re young, we’re a real young team,” he said. “All the girls are already excited about next year. We’re 16-2, I can’t complain about that – it’s a great season. Whatever else happens, it’s a great season.”