Streaking Falcons earn conference tennis victory

By Jim Laise

BERRYVILLE– The attention was focused squarely on the Central-Clarke County boys’ doubles matches Monday afternoon at John Rixey Moore Tennis Courts in district/conference action, and the No. 3 duo for the Falcons came through en route to a 6-3 victory at Chet Hobert Park.

The win — the Falcons’ fourth in a row — improved their record to 6-9 overall, 3-3 Bull Run District. It was the first triumph in Conference 35 action and improved their mark to 1-3.

Clarke County’s ledger fell to 4-10 overall, 3-3 district, 1-3 conference.

The singles and part of the doubles between Central and Clarke had started days earlier and a remainder of the match was postponed to a date when the temperature was in the 60s, though a north breeze pushed balls here and there.

In the singles, Central’s team had held a 4-2 lead when doubles play was resumed at Clarke County.

Eagle senior Matt Betz won at No. 1 (10-4), but Falcons Josh Sherman (10-3), Will (10-5) and Tom Lam (10-4) doubled back on their opponent to go ahead 4-1.

Clarke’s Jordan Hardy bested Central’s John Pulizzi IV (10-7), so the stakes were high on the doubles side.

After Clarke’s No. 1 doubles team of Matt Betz and Leo Buzalsky claimed the victory over Matt Bromley and Sherman (8-2), two other doubles matches remained in play.

Ahead by only one match (4-3) the Falcons needed one more doubles victory to clinch a split with Clarke County (Eagles won 5-4 earlier) for the regular season.

Pulizzi got a measure of pride back as he and partnered with Chase Rimel (at No. 3) to close out an 8-3 victory over Alec Lai and Hardy for the overall 5-3 advantage to clinch the match. Hardy won the singles match over Pulizzi.

The Lams also won 8-6 at No. 2.

“I guess you could say there was some thought of coming back and winning. You have that drive for redemption, you might say,” said Pulizzi.

“We knew (one of Central’s three doubles teams) we had to win at least one of them to clinch it,” said Rimel. “So, we pretty much knew what we had to do.”

The victory may provide a spark in the upcoming Conference 35 singles tournament, which begins Thursday at Central. First come the singles matches, then the team matches and the doubles matches on differing days.

The top two singles players from each school will meet Thursday. Those are Bromley and Sherman from Central and Betz-Owen Mason-Hill from Clarke County.

All Conference 35 teams will compete for the championship.

Contact Jim Laise at sports@nvdaily.com