ROANOKE, VA. - Sometimes your opponent is simply better than you.
The Abingdon doubles duo of Dillon McReynolds and Carter Hylton learned that the hard way in a 6-0, 6-0 Class 3 state doubles semifinal loss on Friday afternoon at the Hunting Hills Country Club indoor facility.
“They made shots,” Abingdon boys coach David Swiney said. “We made shots that they covered and then they made better shots back and that is why they are D-I prospects. They are top notch players.”
It was a definite learning experience for the Abingdon duo, who were facing senior Gavin Seagraves (Navy) and junior Alex Ix (Virginia Tech) from Western Albemarle, both of whom have already committed to play Division I tennis.
“I just learned how aggressive they were at the net. I could definitely tell that was a big thing in their victory,” said McReynolds, a freshman, who lost to Seagraves in the singles semifinals on Thursday. “I think next year we will just kind of learn from that and try to apply that to our game.”
Seagraves and Ix were dominant from the start, only allowing one deuce game in the opening set, and the Falcons managed to win just two of 26 games in the second set.
“We have seen there is a different level that we have got to aspire to,” Swiney said. “When you have got a freshman and a sophomore playing against two D-I prospects, you are going to take your lumps. They learned and they competed to the end and that is all I can ask for.”
Seagraves, who won two matches by identical 6-0, 6-0 scores to win the singles crown on Thursday, displayed powerful ground strokes, with the ability to move around and use the entire court. Ix was much the same, but was especially adept around the net.
“That is what we are trying to get our kids to understand, there are different ways that you can approach it, but you still have to know how to play at the net and at the baseline,” Swiney said. “Sometimes some kids are a little better at the baseline, but you still got to play both, and they proved that. They were like on a yo-yo. It really is impressive and they are great kids too. “
Hylton, who is just a sophomore, certainly learned plenty from the match, which was over in less than 30 minutes.
“That I need to start playing more,” he said, with a smile. “They just have played a whole lot more than us and they have played a lot better people than us. Playing them helped us know our competition in the future and where we need to get in the future hopefully...
“I want to start trying to play more and hopefully win a state title in the upcoming years.”
espite the loss, it was a terrific season for the Falcons on the court. The Abingdon team lost in the state quarterfinals, and reached the semifinals in both singles and doubles competition.
“I didn’t really know what to expect out of this season,” said McReynolds, who spent most of the match on the baseline, while Hylton managed the play around the net. “I knew we were going to have a tough region so I was definitely really pleased that we made it out of regionals.
“It is just an honor to be here and we just hope we can come back here next year....It has been a great year. I have definitely enjoyed it.”
Don’t count them out.
“It was a great year,” Swiney said. “Three of our top four are two freshmen and a sophomore so I think we will be back.”