Fine-tuned: Western boys tennis sweeps Turner Ashby to earn state tournament berth

Photo by Bart Isley

So far, the postseason has been about speed for Western Albemarle boys tennis — as in how quickly can they close out an opponent.


Blink and you might miss it — that’s how tough and efficient the Warriors are playing right now.


“We’re playing pretty well, we’ve been practicing every day pretty hard and we have all these good players,” said Western Albemarle’s Nicholas Hagspiel who won his match 6-0, 6-0 at No. 5 singles. “It’s all really good.”


The defending state champion Warriors made short work of Turner Ashby Wednesday afternoon, winning 5-0 over the Knights in the Class 3, Region C semifinals. The win vaults currently unbeaten and regional top-seed Western into the state tournament.


“I think we have a good shot this year for states, we’ve been playing really hard and I think it’s going to be really fun,” Hagspiel said.  


That fun part shows. The Warriors are loose right now, with one-liners from the collection of players not on the court directed at teammates on the court keeping matches that can often be quiet, tense affairs loose. At least on Wednesday that was the case as the Warriors cruised.


With a loaded lineup that includes Navy commitment Gavin Seagraves at the No. 1 spot, defending state doubles champion Alex Ix at No. 2 and his doubles partner last year and 2017 state singles semifinalist Daniel Thomas at No. 3, Western’s top half of the ladder is formidable. But they’ve got three experienced hands in the bottom half of the singles lineup too with Hagspiel, Jack Tribble and Simon Rader all boasting experience as part of the lineup on last year’s state championship squad.  


“A lot of our bottom players can play kids like Gavin and Alex and improve our game,” Hagspiel said. “Challenging them is just really helpful for us.”


Western went to work staying in that rhythm Wednesday, with Thomas the first off the court at No. 3 singles with a 6-0, 6-0 win that took just around 45 minutes to complete. The dominoes fell from there as Ix won 6-0, 6-0, Hagspiel swept his match and Tribble won 6-1, 6-0. Seagraves’ match stretched out only slightly longer as he won 6-1, 6-0 against the Knights’ No. 1 Canon Secord.


Rader was up 6-1, 3-1 when his match was called with the team result decided. Clearly taking a game off of Western, who rolled 5-0 past Spotswood on Monday, is tough enough, trying to knock off them off may be a particularly heavy lift.


Western will host seventh-seeded Rockbridge tennis who has made a Cinderella run through the Region 3C tournament with wins over No. 2 Waynesboro and No. 3 Heritage.


Western Albemarle 5, Turner Ashby 0


1. Gavin Seagraves (Western) def. Canon Secord 6-1, 6-0

2. Alex Ix (WA) def. Nick Metzler 6-0, 6-0

3. Daniel Thomas (WA) def. Elijah Disharoon 6-0, 6-0

4. Jack Tribble (WA) def. Joe Satterwhite 6-1, 6-0

5. Nicholas Hagspiel (WA) def. Chase Blair 6-0, 6-0

6. Simon Rader (WA) versus Ben Clatterbuck 6-1, 3-1