Freshmen Sorkin, Bernstine helping Hokies

by John Packett, RTA Contributing Writer

Freshmen Sorkin, Bernstine helping Hokies

Some of the area’s best high school players have gone on to the next level and are competing well for their college teams this spring.

The most well-known are All-Metro players of the year from 2017: Nina Sorkin (Deep Run) and Chase Bernstine (Goochland), both of whom are at Virginia Tech and have been contributing as freshmen.

Sorkin helped the Hokies (10-4) win their first eight matches before they started ACC play, where they are 1-4 heading into a conference match against Pittsburgh in Blacksburg on March 23. Tech is 7-1 on its home courts.

On the men’s side, Tech captured nine of its first 10 matches, with Bernstine contributing in the lower half of the lineup. The Hokies (9-5) have dropped their first four ACC matches – all of them to teams ranked in the top 16 – going into a March 23 match at Boston College.

Another freshman, Alyssa Hahn (Douglas Freeman), has been playing mostly doubles for Davidson, which has gotten off to a 12-2 start and has won nine consecutive matches. In Hahn’s only singles match, she lost just two games. The Wildcats are 3-0 in Atlantic 10 play.

Former St. Christopher’s standout Matt Fernandez has been playing as high as No. 2 singles for the University of Richmond. The Spiders were 6-8 under new coach Houston Barrick heading into a March 23 match against A-10 for Saint Joseph’s on the newly renovated Westhampton courts.

At James Madison University, Paul Mendoza (Cosby) and Tate Steinour (former Midlothian High standout who now lives in Hilton Head, S.C.) have helped the Dukes get off to a 13-3 start (2-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association).

Mendoza plays No. 1 singles and doubles for JMU, while Steinour has contributed some at No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles. Mendoza is 11-4 in singles for the Dukes, who have a March 24 match scheduled at Longwood.

Justin Cerny, who was a standout for Trinity Episcopal, is winding up his career at Christopher Newport in fine form. The senior was recognized as the Capital Athletic Conference player of the week for March 12-18.

Cerny led the Captains (6-6) to a pair of victories over Centre College and Virginia Wesleyan. Cerny plays No. 2 singles for CNU and No. 1 doubles. With two singles wins, Cerny eclipsed 50 for his career and moved into the top 10 all-time with 51.

This marked the fifth time Cerny had been honored by the CAC in his career but the first this year. The Captains open conference play on March 24 with a doubleheader against Southern Virginia University and Frostburg State in Newport News.

Freshman Mitch Brody (James River) also contributes on occasion for CNU.

Former Douglas Freeman standout Joseph Brown has contributed at No. 3 singles and No. 3 doubles for the University of Mary Washington, which is 8-2 heading into a March 24 doubleheader vs. Bates and York (Pa.) at home.

The Eagles are the 16th-ranked team in Division III going into the weekend,

On the women’s side at UMW, sophomore Rachel Summers (James River) and senior Caroline Mosberg (Deep Run) propelled the Eagles to a 6-0 start and No. 16 national ranking in Division III before they lost three close matches to highly regarded foes.

Summers has played Nos. 1 and 2 singles while Mosberg fills the Nos. 2 and 3 slots. They have played No. 2 doubles together.

The women’s team at Washington and Lee is 10-3 and ranked No. 14 in Division III, thanks in part to the contributions of sophomore Lily Horsley (St. Catherine’s), who has been a solid middle-of-the-lineup performer for the Generals (6-0 in conference play).

W&L’s next match is a conference meeting in Lynchburg on March 24.

Randolph-Macon has three area players on the men’s team, which has gotten off to a 5-1 start. Sophomore Grant Sarver (Mills Godwin) leads the way at No. 2 singles, while Baxter Carter (St. Christopher’s) at No. 4 and Shane Berry (James River) at No. 6 are big contributors.

The trio also contributes in all three of the doubles spots for R-MC, which was scheduled to play Bridgewater on March 24 in Ashland.

At Virginia Union, local product Amirah Eckles has helped the Panthers to a 3-2 record. The ex-Varina standout plays No. 5 singles for VUU, which goes to Charlotte, N.C., for a CIAA match with Johnson C. Smith on March 24.

Former Richmonder Williams Howell, who now makes his home in Boca Raton, Fla., has gotten on the court for Notre Dame mainly in doubles and No. 6 singles. The freshman spent his early years in Richmond before moving away with his family.

The Irish were 10-8 going into a home match against North Carolina on March 23.

At Shenandoah, Morgan Fuqua (Mills Godwin) opened the season in the top spot in singles and doubles for the Hornets, who were 2-2 going into a March 24 match against Roanoke in Winchester. The sophomore was also a big contributor as a freshman.