Warren County's boys tennis squad has plenty of seniors, but not a lot of experience this season.
The Wildcats' (2-1, 1-1 Class 3 Northwestern) top seven players are all seniors, but none of them have much experience playing for the team. Warren County coach Erik Breit said they've put in a lot of hard work in the offseason.
"They were very passionate," Breit said. "They worked over the fall. They were ready to hit the ground running in the spring. So it's been very exciting to see all their hard work pay off."
The Wildcats posted their first win of the season on Monday, an 8-1 victory over Strasburg. They lost only five games combined in three of the singles matches played by Austing Herring (No. 2 singles), Matthew Farley (No. 3 singles) and Antonio Tonizzo (No. 4 singles). Three-sport athlete Michael Kelly lost a tough match at No. 1 singles, 8-6.
They followed that up with a solid win over Central, in which they swept the three doubles matches for a 6-3 victory.
The Wildcats host Brentsville on Monday. Breit said he would like to see his team keep improving as the season goes on.
"I just look forward to them getting better each match," Breit said. "Learning what they're doing wrong and just improving on their own. They're a great group of kids. I've enjoyed getting to coach them and know them. So it's going to be a fun year."
The Rams have enjoyed some individual success in the first week of the season despite not having enough numbers to fill all of the singles and doubles spots.
In Strasburg's season-opening loss to Clarke County last week, the Rams had two victories in the four matches that were actually played.
Strasburg's Nick Lear won in both No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles. Lear also won against Warren County's Michael Kelly, 8-6, in singles to improve to 2-0 on the season. Lear won the last four games in the match.
Strasburg coach Ken Jaeger said he was proud of the way Lear played in Monday's win.
"I think if he just remains on track and he just remains focused like he was (Monday) he'll do well," Jaeger said. "Against Clarke County last week he was a little unfocused, but (Monday) I could tell that nothing was distracting him and he prevailed."
The Rams (0-2, 0-1 Bull Run) have only four players on the roster, but Jaeger said he is hoping to get a fifth player this week. Strasburg plays at Central today.
"We're gaining the experience and we're getting the competition and that could only mean we can improve from there," Jaeger said. "I know we have to give up some games but they're out here to have fun, they're out here to get experience."
The Falcons, like most teams in the area, don't have a lot of depth, but they have still made the most of their first few matches.
After a loss to powerhouse George Mason, Central bounced back with a win against Skyline and lost a close match with Brentsville. The Falcons lost five individual matches by 2 points to the Tigers.
Central coach Brandon Lamma said his young squad is learning with each match. Central only has two seniors, Max Hoover and Thomas Burgess, but no one on the team has much experience playing in the top six singles spots.
"I think even though I've got seniors juniors and sophomores, not playing in that top six it's definitely different than playing in an exhibition match," Lamma said. "So they are adapting well. I just feel like each match we are getting better and better."
On Wednesday, the Falcons lost a close match against Warren County, 6-3. They lost several close matches, including all three of the doubles matches.
The Falcons (1-3, 1-3 Class 3 Northwestern) host Strasburg today.
Lamma said he not only wants the team to be successful on the court but off of it as well.
"I would like for us to just win as many matches as we can," he said. "And I tell my guys, too, if we walk away with a loss we know we went out there and gave it our best. I just want them to go out there each and every day to give to their best. And just to be good gentlemen and good men of character, most importantly. I said anybody can be good at tennis, but I want us to be good at those other things too that are also very, very important."