WOODSTOCK — Central’s Michelle Kim and Madison Smith made sure they took care of business on Wednesday.
With a regional berth at stake, the Central No. 1 doubles team clinched a 5-2 victory over Clarke County in the Bull Run District tournament semifinals. The win sends the Falcons into the Region 2B tournament for the second straight year.
Kim and Smith beat Clarke County’s Aaliyah McFarland and Annalee Wisecarver, 6-1, 6-0 in 46 minutes to wrap up the team victory.
“I was pretty happy about our score,” Smith said. “I think we played good. I think it was our best match yet. I think the communication was good. We just played overall really well.”
The Central pair started things off strong in singles as well. Kim, a sophomore, beat McFarland 6-0, 6-0 in 39 minutes at No. 1 singles.
“My singles match went well,” Kim said. “I just tried my best.”
Smith, a junior, followed with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Wisecarver in 46 minutes at No. 2 singles for a 2-0 Central lead. Just four minutes later, Central senior Anna Truban defeated Kaitlyn Spitler, 6-0, 6-0 to give Central a 3-0 lead.
Central freshman Erika Hutton finished her match at No. 6 singles just a few minutes later with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Heather Elsea. Clarke County’s Reagan Johnson beat Central senior Krissica Tusing, 6-1, 6-0 at No. 4 singles. Tusing was filling in for junior Mackenzie Ryman, who was out sick.
Clarke County’s Julia Callender beat senior Lander Barbour, 6-2, 6-0 at No. 3 singles to cut the team lead to 4-2.
“I think we played pretty good,” Central coach Matt Smith said. “Everybody did really good. I was pleased with it.”
The Falcons (13-2) are one regional win away from their first state berth since 1999. Last year the Falcons came up just short against East Rockingham in the regional semifinals and team members feel confident they can do better this season.
“I’m excited to go back (to regionals) and hopefully we can take it a step further this time,” Matt Smith said. “We’re a more experienced team this year. We have a little more depth than we did last year. So I’m hoping we can take it further.”
The Region 2B semifinals will be held at home sites on May 16. However, the Falcons have a district tournament title in their sights before then. Central will play at district rival George Mason on Monday in the district tourney final. The winner will have a home match in Thursday’s regional tourney, while the loser plays on the road in regionals.
George Mason beat Central, 6-3, on April 23. The Falcons lost several close singles matches in the contest and are hoping to turn the tables against them on Monday.
“They’re a good team and it was pretty close last time,” Kim said. “I think we might have a good chance of winning on Monday.”
Matt Smith said he always enjoys playing against the Mustangs.
“They’re going to be ready to play, but we were so close last time,” he said. “It’s two-out-of-three sets — it goes a little bit longer. The last time we played, I think Erika (Hutton) was a little under the weather. So a couple games here or there can make a big difference. So we’ll see how it goes. I’m excited to play them. They’re always a tough team and it just makes us better players, too.”