Skyline’s Lozano stars in tennis loss to Sherando
STEPHENS CITY – Skyline High School athlete Matias Lozano is a young man in a hurry.
Tuesday, he defeated Sherando’s Cameron Spieles 10-0 at No. 1 singles and then teamed with Michael Ballu at 1 doubles to knock off Spieles and Jake Baggett 10-8 to mark the Hawks’ only points in a 7-2 Northwestern District defeat at the hands of the Warriors.
For Sherando (4-7 overall, 1-2 Northwestern) it was the first district win of the season, while Skyline fell to 4-7 and is still looking for its first league victory. Its record there fell to 0-4.
“It took some time, but we’re getting there,” said Sherando coach Steve Jennings.
The Warriors had lost five of their last six matches, while the Hawks have lost five straight.
This was the second year Sherando beat Skyline by the score of 7-2 and the first time in three years the match was played in anything besides rain (last year) or snow (2015).
The skies at the SHS-Frederick County parks courts were clear and sunny throughout the match.
“We came to school this fall and all I knew was that we were going to get a foreign exchange player and he was going to play tennis and soccer,” Skyline coach Josh Brown said of his transfer student.
Lozano, a senior, has just this season begun to show off his potential at the Front Royal school, and so far, his journey has been a success.
He came here this summer from Talca, Chile, a city which is 165 miles south of Santiago, as a foreign exchange student and started to prepare for the spring when he decided to play tennis and soccer.
“I was in the same program as my brother and so I came here. I came a couple of months early to learn the language and then I just started playing on my own over here,” said Lozano, a fluent English speaker.
He said he had been playing tennis since the age of six. He then played on a club team (there is no high school tennis where he’s from) and at 15 he just played for enjoyment.
Starting the season undefeated at No. 2 against teams like Millbrook, James Wood and Handley, he took all his matches. Tuesday, Brown moved him to No. 1 and shut out Spieles. The latter, also a senior, was selected as the Northern Virginia Daily boys’ tennis player of the year in 2016.
Lozano learned to play tennis on clay courts. It’s a slower game than the one played on hard courts, like Sherando’s. Yet playing on clay forces a player to be a shot-maker and that’s precisely what Lozano is.
Playing against Spieles’ big serve, Lozano aided his game by consistently dropping shots just over the net. The 6-foot-3 inch Spieles had difficulty negotiating returns.
“He’s a good player; he knows his way around a tennis court,” Jennings said.
Having then played singles and doubles, Lozano had to speed over to Arrowhead Stadium where his boys’ soccer team was in the midst of playing Sherando’s squad on the pitch in Stephens City.
“Got to go,” he said as he headed for the tennis parking lot and then the stadium.
Though Lozano and Ballou won their No. 1 doubles match, the rest of the afternoon was painted in Sherando’s scarlet and black colors.
Baggett defeated Ballu 10-5 at No. 2 singles. Keith Robertson edged Isaiah Henry 10-8 at No. 3. Parker Gregg had no trouble (10-0) at 4 singles over Christian Renner. Tucker Myers, at 5, trounced David Ricks 10-3. At 6, Gabe Palmateer knocked off Nick Schwentker 10-2.
Robertson, the freshman brother of Sherando girls’ player Kathryn Robertson, had two interesting matches.
He won at 3 singles after going ahead 9-2 early. Then he and Myers combined to pull out their No. 2 doubles match 10-5 after an early 5-2 lead.
“(Isaiah Henry) started hitting some good shots (at singles) and I had to hang on in both singles and doubles,” said the first-year varsity player.
The quickest action of the day came from another Sherando freshman, Parker Gregg, who played No. 4 singles. He shut out Skyline’s Christian Renner, then combined with Cullen Mills for a quick 10-0 decision over Johnny Callihan and Nick Harpold.”
Contact Jim Laise at email@example.com
Warriors 7, Skyhawks 2
Sherando High School
Lozano (Sky) d. Spieles 10-0, 2. Baggett (Sher) d. Ballu 10-5, 3. Robertson (Sher) d. Henry 10-8, 4. Gregg (Sher) d. Renner 10-0, 5. Myers (Sher) d. Ricks 10-3, 6. Palmateer (Sher) d. Schwentker 10-2.
1. Lozano-Ballu (Sky) d. Spieles-Baggett 10-5, 2. Robertson-Myers (Sher) d. Henry-Ricks 10-8, Gregg-Mills (Sher) d. Callihan-Harpold 10-0