Loudoun Valley's Matt Vaughn and the Stone Bridge boys' tennis team were hoping to make their first trips to the AA state tournament last week. Vaughn had won 21 of 22 matches heading into the individual final against Handley's Michael Milanov. The Bulldogs had run off 20 consecutive wins to start the season, with only Handley standing between them and the Region II title.
But Vaughn and the Bulldogs ended their seasons short of states. The Loudoun Valley senior lost in straight sets to Milanov, 6-0, 6-0, Wednesday. Stone Bridge also lost on Wednesday, 5-0, in the team championship match.
"I have to hand it to them; Handley has a great team," Stone Bridge Coach Brian Whitmore said. "I think some of the matches were closer than the final score showed, though. Zero to five does not indicate the level of competition out there."
In Vaughn's case, the Dulles District champion was not at 100 percent heading into his match.
"He had pretty bad blisters," Loudoun Valley Coach Steve Cohen said. "It's a shame he couldn't have been completely healthy."
The Stone Bridge boys' doubles duo of brothers Dan and Zach Schneider, who also advanced to the Region II tournament, had to endure an injury as well. Zach, a sophomore, pulled a muscle in his leg in the district title match a week earlier, rendering him unable to compete in the region tournament. Sophomore Trey Allen, the team's No. 2, replaced Zach as Dan's partner.
Although the pair hadn't played a match together during the regular season, they won in the first two rounds of the tournament. But Schneider and Allen lost in the doubles championship match to Handley's Alex Funkhouser and Jon Roberts, 6-3, 6-4.
"In doubles, it's all about familiarity," Whitmore said. "That was only their third match together, so it was tough for both to know each others' tendencies."
Whitmore was not discouraged by his team's performance. He says that despite the graduation of its top player (Dan Schneider), his team should be a force when it moves up to AAA next year.
"We walked away feeling pretty good about ourselves," he said.