Conference 12 Tennis
Matoaca is the most likely contender out of the teams left in the Chester area, as L.C. Bird does not field a tennis program, and while Meadowbrook has shown some promise, they have struggled to string together success.
The boys had their work cut out for them in the opening round match-up and lost to Manchester, who they lost 6-3 to in the regular season. Manchester will advance to play Clover Hill, in all likelihood, and head to regionals as the two seed in the 5A South. Matoaca will still send singles and doubles teams into the playoffs.
The Matoaca girls are likely to be seeded in the middle of the pack and will also figure to have to get past Clover Hill for a Conference 12 title.
Conference 3 Tennis
Thomas Dale boys’ and girls’ tennis had their team seasons end in the first rounds of the Conference 3 tournament this past week. Both teams were incredibly young. The girls finished 8-7 overall while the boys finished 5-10 as a team. Both have conference tournament play in singles and doubles this week.
Nate Haskins, a freshman for the boys, and the youthful trio of Fatima Felton, Tamia Vines, and Megan Burt, among others gives both Knights’ programs much reason to be excited for the future.
Conference 3 Lacrosse
Both the Thomas Dale boys’ and girls’ lacrosse squads are playing games that count for the first time in school history this season, so this week marks their first ventures in program history into the playoffs.
Both the boys and girls faced off with Franklin County earlier in the week for play in spots. Updated schedules and results are available on twitter @VNewsSports. The boys are led by Latzi Ballint, the girls by Haley Peaks.
Conference 3 Baseball
This is potentially the tightest conference playoff race around. Thomas Dale is right in the thick of things, with an 11-3 record as of press time, led by a strong core group of seniors in Nathan Eaton, Blake Hartman, Cody Boydstun, Cory Allgood, Corey Johnston, Tommy Barron, and Ryan Young.
James River, Cosby, and Franklin County all form a log jam in the top four of the conference standings, with the Rapids holding the top seed. The Knights have swept Cosby this season and currently trail Franklin County (Roanoke). Should they finish in the third position, they would travel to Roanoke for the opening round.
Conference 12 Baseball
Matoaca, L.C. Bird, and Meadowbrook are three young teams looking to compete and all have grown as 2015 has rolled on. The most dangerous team of the pack are the Warriors, who have shown a definite offensive punch.
While pitching has been inconsistent, both Robert Fultineer and Kyle Creasy (Emory and Henry) have shown the gamesmanship to reel in victories. First-year head coach Ryan Moore has Corey Anderson, a stud pitcher, and a couple of big boppers in his line-up, including Chris Hayden. Meadowbrook scored an exciting walk-off victory this season over Hopewell in which Korey Harmon got the game-winning knock as the Monarchs won, 7-6.
Conference 3 Softball
Thomas Dale softball has sputtered a bit, going 8-1 to start the year, but their record currently stands at 11-6. While it’s not the right time for a down swing, remember that the Knights are statistically one of the best offensive teams in the Central Region, headlined by senior Jordan Starke. The Knights must get back to their ways from the first half of the season if it is to be a successful postseason.
Conference 12 Softball
Matoaca, L.C. Bird and Meadowbrook are all young teams in 2015. Of the three, Matoaca figures to have the best shot at winning a game in the playoffs in what should be a bonafide dog fight between Manchester, Clover Hill, and Prince George. The Warriors had their share of excitement a couple weeks back when freshman Katie Higgins twirled a one-hitter against Thomas Dale, a game that seemed to set the tone for the mini-slide the Knights have been on. Both the Skyhawks and Monarchs have pieces, but they have struggled to be consistently competitive despite notching a few victories this season.
Conference 3 Soccer
The girls figure to battle for a spot at regionals, just like last year, with their best opportunity coming at them again should their path go through Franklin County in the Conference 3 semi-finals. Seeding is still very up in the air, but it seems likely the Knights will land a three seed, facing either James River or Cosby – both teams have dropped decisions to 4-0 and 3-1, respectively. Dominique Grubbs and Katie Waring are a formidable one-two punch, while Megan Tucker and Emily Johnson are solid, as well.
The Dale boys have had a solid season and made a good run last postseason. This year’s team looks about the same heading into the playoffs and could win a game or two. After all, you can never count out a team coached by Mark Fowler. Alex Vasquez and Austin Hylton run the team’s offense and lead the team in scoring.
Conference 12 Soccer
Matoaca boys’ soccer has a pretty good shot at gaining its first conference/district title since 2010. An early season loss to Clover Hill must be avenged, but it would appear that, as long as they play up to how they have performed in 2015, they could gain a region berth and challenge for conference crown. They have solid midfielders, led by Davis Topping, balanced scoring, and staunch defense headlined by David Kim and Justin Dyke.
While the Monarchs are not the same team as they were last year, they are still a sneaky contender and not a team anyone wants to play on one of their good days. Myles Smith, a Chowan commit is the third Monarch to commit to play college soccer over the last three years and is a formidable scorer. Roberto Romero is one of the area’s best defenders, and Bernardo Mejia (Mount Olive College commit) is one of the toughest goalies in the area.
L.C. Bird is not a team to be ignored, either. The Skyhawks have shown steady improvement since going winless a season ago. The loss of Zach Winter has been a tough one to endure. Darius Robertson and Jeff Woodward have been reliable attackers, while senior Zach Peppers has patrolled the mid-field. Senior Nick Albright has provided leadership to a team that could surprise in the tournament.
On the girls side, Matoaca figures to be a middle of the pack seed, while L.C. Bird and Meadowbrook will register fifth and sixth in the six team tournament. The Warriors are an experienced team compared to the other two and played Clover Hill well in the postseason in 2014, falling just 3-1.