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Fauquier girls tennis coach plans to experiment with lineup, develop depth

Saturday, Mar. 23 | By Fred Hodge
The Fauquier girls tennis team is coming off a 20-2 season in 2012, when it captured its fourth-straight Evergreen District title, a Region II runner-up trophy and a second trip to the state playoffs in four seasons.

The Falcons return a quartet from last year's top six singles players, but there is a slight alteration for the 2013 approach.

"This year, I have a different philosophy," Falcon coach Gerri Biggers said. "Of course, our goal is to win states, but I'm trying to build a [total] program, not just numbers one through six."

Biggers explained the Falcons won 20 straight matches to start last season before losing two of their top three players to injury and illness. Fauquier then lost the Region II title match to Western Albemarle and a state quarterfinal match to Jamestown.

"Last year, I had eight new players. Some had never picked up a racquet before," Biggers began. "This year, all of them have played before, even those who did not make the team."

Fauquier's aim of developing more depth during the 16-match regular-season slate translates to a departure from the usual long-range outlook, Biggers said.

The approach also means the Falcons will experiment with different lineups on a large-scale basis. The experimentation will involve the singles and doubles ladders from top to bottom.

"The team as a whole is stronger than last year. There is a division line, but it's shallow," the coach said, explaining her top four is one level, followed by a group of five or six girls who are capable of playing on the lower portions of both ladders.

The goal is to be ready this spring in case of injury, so any substitute will have varsity match experience under her belt.
Junior Isabelle Wessel returns after holding down the No. 2 slot last year, as does senior Lucy Van Ness, who was third. Junior Mackenzie Rollins was No. 5 a year ago.

Harper Van Ness, last spring's No. 1, currently is sidelined by a medical issue. The timing of her return is uncertain.
Other veterans include Jacqua Flynn, Eliane Zalewski, Tatiana Warzinski, Megan Megalhaes, Allison Cherundo, Rachel Keithly, and Olivia Burke.

Micensie Barrett, Sarena Marshall, Lauren Newby, Madison Kerns, Carmen Coloos and Marta Ariza round out the team.
Fauquier opened its season Monday with a lopsided home win over Courtland, 8-1.

Wessel took the No. 1 singles, 10-1, while Lucy Van Ness was a quick 10-0 victor at the next level. Rollins scored a 10-6 decision, Zalewski was a 10-0 winner.

Megalhaes won, 10-4, and Flynn completed the singles sweep, 10-2.

In doubles, Wessel and Cherundo were 10-5 winners in the top slot. Rollins and Barrett took the No. 2 doubles, 10-5, before Burke and Marshall fell, 10-8.
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