NEW MARKET – Central’s girls tennis team is making some real noise this season and the Falcons continued their success on Monday.
The Falcons knocked off Stonewall Jackson, 9-0, at New Market Park in non-district action to improve to 5-0 on the season.
Central was missing two players, Lander Barbour and Anna Truban, from its usual top six and didn’t miss a beat against the Generals.
“I think we played really well,” Central coach Matt Smith said. “We got to move some girls up to get them some experience. And so from what I’ve seen I thought everyone played well.”
The teams decided to play doubles first and then singles. It didn’t take long for the Falcons to take a commanding 3-0 edge.
Central’s Michelle Kim and Madison Smith beat Sarah Miller and Leigha Kagey, 8-0, at No. 1 doubles. Central’s Mackenzie Ryman and Krissica Tusing beat Emmy Pilkerton and Elizabeth Wine, 8-0. Central’s Sarah Grace Schechtel and Maiya Rodriguez beat Mindi Freed and Marleigh Councill, 8-2, at No. 3 doubles.
The Falcons’ top three singles players Kim, Madison Smith and Ryman lost a combined two games in their matches.
“I think I started off really strong, and I’m really happy with how I played today,” Kim said. “My groundstrokes are really good and I really hit the ball well.”
Freshman Kim beat Miller, 8-1, at No. 1 singles, sophomore Madison Smith beat Pilkerton, 8-0, at No, 2 singles and sophomore Ryman defeated Kagey, 8-1, at No. 3 singles.
Matt Smith played three normal non-staters at the bottom three spots and they were still able to pick up wins.
At No. 5 singles, Baker topped Wine, 8-1. At No. 4 singles, Tusing won the last six games for a 10-3 victory over Jordan Jacobsen. At No. 6 singles, Adele Roulston slipped past Freed, 8-6.
“I thought (Tusing) played well. She moved well,” Matt Smith said. “She said she felt relaxed and I told her at the end of the match that I thought she had played some of the best tennis I’ve seen out of her. I’m enjoying this because we put Cameorn Baker in at 5 (singles) and I was really pleased with how she performed and she did well.”
The Falcons (5-0, 1-0 Bull Run) are coming off their biggest win of the season. Last week they beat Bull Run District rival George Mason, 5-4. It was George Mason’s first district loss in over 10 years.
“Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it, but I’m really happy,” Madison Smith said of the George Mason victory. “ I heard it was the first one in a while. I’m really proud of the team. We played really good.”
The Generals (0-4, 0-3 Shenandoah) were also short-handed on Monday. They were missing Emma Bragg, who normally plays at No. 4 singles.
Stonewall Jackson has played four very difficult teams to start the season. Stonewall Jackson is a Class 1 team and hax played only Class 2 teams to start the year. Generals coach Bill Simmons said the team has to stay focused on improving and not worry about the results, and hopefully playing tougher competition will help them.
“It’s tough because we get games to deuce and then we can’t seem to finish it off,” Simmons said. “ I’d like to see us score a few more games in each of the matches, because then it would give you that confidence. That’s what you worry about. You worry about their confidence. But a lot of them have been with me – it’s their second or third year – and we’ve talked about this ahead of time. So hopefully moving forward you’ll see when we play schools at our level a little bit better results.”
The Falcons have played all five of their matches on the road. Central won only three matches all of last season and have only two seniors on this year’s squad.
The players said they think teams are starting to take notice of how good the team is this year.
“I definitely think the teams like George Mason, I don’t think they were expecting us to come out like that,” Kim said. “It’s really cool that we’re 5-0, because last year we didn’t even get more than four wins. So it’s really cool. I’m hoping we continue to play strong like this.”