Friday, August 18, 2017

Climbing Report 3: Goshen


Varsity Match Report
In many of our matches, we get so concerned about winning or losing. As we try to be leaders, as we try to learn and climb up the ladder, I want to focus on these lessons instead of the wins or losses. So, here's the lessons from each match.

#1S - The way to deal with nerves is to swing through the ball. 

Jonathon dominated the first set of this match. He was moving, he was forcing his opponent deep into the court, he was giving away very few errors. In the second set, after the rain delay, Jonathon became increasingly tentative with his swings. That allowed Wes Beck, Goshen's #1, to become more comfortable in attacking and moving Jonathon around. By the time Jonathon realized what he was doing, he was very nervous because the match was close and it was difficult to swing through the ball. When we realize that we aren't playing as well as we'd like, or we are beginning to get nervous, the cure is to find the middle of the court and swing through. Get that stroke loose again.
#2S - Movement is key to competing.

What was super cool about watching this match was that even though it was Philip's first varsity match of the season, he definitely had the strokes to compete in this match. But Simon Myers, Goshen's #2, is a very gifted mover. He has good strokes, but he gets around the court quickly. As a result, Myers was rarely hitting the ball from a bad position. He was balanced and able to take intentional swings to targets. Usually the player who is hitting through the ball in their strike zone more often wins the match. That was the case here. In order to move up the ladder, we have to find ways to get more balls in our strike zone... and movement is the beginning of that.

#3S - Each point has its own consequences.

Joel hit some wonderful shots tonight. He also hit some bad ones. In talking after the match, Joel admitted that he cannot turn off the feedback loop in his own head after his bad shots, and that if someone would yell, "It's alright, Joel!" after a bad shot it would make him more upset. I totally get that. But the truth is that it is alright. We tend to beat ourselves up for bad shots. We get upset and mad at ourselves. But the bad shot already had it's consequence - we lost the point. It is not helpful nor necessary to continue to be mad at ourselves. We have to come back to a focus for the next point.

#1D - Making things simpler makes them better.

This match went back and forth and back and forth, in fact, I don't think that either team ever led by more than a game except when Dustin and Jacob won the first set. What the match usually swung back and forth on was the complexity of the shots that we were trying to hit, especially with volleys. The key thing to remember with volleys is that you are simply trying to guide them to the area of the court that gives you the best advantage. Most of the time, that's right to the open court, between your two opponents, or towards the feet of the net man. When Dustin and Jacob stayed ready to hit volleys out like that, they won a high percentage of the points. When they tried to hit the volleys down into the court for putaways, they began to lose. This simplicity carried over to groundstrokes too. When we swung big from bad positions, bad things happened. When we got into good positions, well... we talked about that in #2S above :-)

#2D - Push into each challenge. 

At this position, there was one player who was clearly better than everyone else. And he hit the ball h.a.r.d. This knocked Nathan and Jonah back on their heals a little bit as they tried to compete. Mentally, they found it hard to keep their energy. I would point out to them the lesson from #3S, that the reward for their opponent hitting a good hard shot is that they won the point, and that we should move onto the next point with a new focus. But also, we should be sure to learn that when someone hits the ball harder than us, or moves better, or has a better serve... we should see that as an awesome challenge - almost like a riddle. Then, we do whatever we can to relish that and come back against it. Almost like, "Okay... (high voice squeak) I see you... well, watch what I'm going to do back." Have fun with the challenge, have fun with yourself as you find a way to take it on.

JV Match Report
I didn't get to see any of the JV matches, but I got to hear about them in a big jumble as the guys rolled off the bus back at Bethany to come eat with the varsity. What I gathered is that we had some incredibly fun matches, where we started down and made comebacks, or went back and forth the whole time, or grabbed our first win. I was really glad to hear the joy in the guys voices, to see them eat and run out onto the tennis court. I'm disappointed when I don't get to see everyone play, but I love to hear your excitement.

In the end, it seems that it came down to one final tiebreak, and if Aaron and Angel had won it, we would have had a 5-3 victory. It seems that the Double A's were a little nervous, and came out on the losing side. Perhaps this is a lesson that they could also learn from what I wrote about the #1S varsity match, making sure that in a nervous situation, we are always coming back to the same focus.

I'm proud of the guys that competed so well though. Like I said on the Instagram post, I like you all so much that I'm ready to celebrate some team victories together.

Climbing Up (Great Moments of the Match)
For the most part, we'll be having 5 different great moments of the match. Tonight, just 3 because it was only the varsity match that I got to see. As we go up, these moments will more and more exemplify what I hope our team will be like. 

1st Rung - Drop volley. Jonathon Yousey had several awesome shots last night, but one of my favorite was when he made Wes Beck run wide to hit a forehand and came forward to the net. When Beck hit a stinging forehand passing shot, Jonathon looked out of position. But quick footwork moved him out of the way, and he got right on top of the net to brush the ball with his racket. It tumbled to the other side, barely a foot from the net and Beck had to just watch as he knew he couldn't get there. Great movement, great decision and great execution.

2nd Rung - Simple placement. I loved Dustin Miller's volleys tonight, so often he would simply guide the ball to a part of the court where the other team was not at. One time, the Goshen net player started for the middle of the net and Dustin slowly poked a volley down the line. The Goshen player strained to get back, but couldn't. The ball landed NOT on the doubles sideline, but almost on the singles sideline - plenty of room to spare before being out. It was a great shot.

3rd Rung - Never give up. Probably my favorite point of the night was Jacob Woolace. Jacob recently admitted to me that his favorite drill is the "Grit" drill, where we run to get difficult balls. Well, tonight he showed us why we do that. Diego Torres of Goshen's #1D got a simple forehand volley, and hit an extreme angle from right to left through the court and off of the deuce side where Jacob had served from. Jacob took off at a full spring toward Jonathon Yousey's court and it looked like he had no chance to get the ball. So much so that Goshen's other net player turned toward Torres to celebrate the point. But Jacob strained on. Reaching out he lifted the ball down the line, behind the head of the Goshen net player who never saw the ball until it landed in the corner behind him, in the court for a winner. The positive momentum of that point spurred Dustin and Jacob on to an eventual win.

#1S - Jonathon Yousey - 6-0, 6-7 (3), 3-6 - Wes Beck (11)
#2S - Philip Krabill - 0-6, 0-6 - Simon Myers (12)
#3S - Joel Yoder - 1-6, 1-6 - Ryan Harmelink (10)
#1D - Dustin Miller/Jacob Woolace - 6-4, 7-6 (2) - Diego Torres (11)/Ben Bontrager-Singer (11)
#2D - Jonah Farran/Nathan Oostland - 2-6, 2-6 - Tony Quann (12)/Drake Crowder (11)

Junior Varsity
#1SJV - Braden Bohn - 8-3 - Austin Peeler (11)
#2SJV - Tommy Nguyen - 2-8 - Wyatt Fisher (10)
#3SJV - Tyson Miller - 3-8 - Carlos Lichty (9)
#1DJV - Braydon Harshberger/Will Nisley - 8-6 - Josh Haimes (11)/Axel Brown (11)
#2DJV - Chris Craw/Joseph Mounsithiraj - 5-8 - Braxton Kincaid (11)/Brenton Pham (9)
#3DJV - Kameron Branum/Theo Siemens-Rhodes - 8-4 - Austin Cain (11)/Anton Pham (10)
#4DJV - Angel Torres/Aaron Shenk - 8-9 (3) - Kobe Gritzmaker (10)/Cormac Koop Liechty (9)
#5DJV - Tyson Miller/Joseph Mounsithiraj - 8-2 - Cade Fisher (12)/Daniel Mora (9)

Area Scores 2017

NorthWood 5, Elkhart Central 0
1. Wes Troyer beat Michael Beveridge, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5)
2. Landon Holland beat Philip Stutzman, 6-4, 1-6, 7-5
3. Jack Wysong beat Zach Pelletier, 7-5, 6-3.
1. Jared Hoffman-Brant Mast beat Jared Reid-Dane Frieden, 6-1, 6-3
2. Trevor Klotz-Trajan Schwartz beat Adam Moon-Adam Delks, 7-5, 6-4

Rochester 4, Triton 1
1. Quique Perego (R) beat Carter Kuntz (T) 6-0, 6-0
2. Ean Pugh (R) beat John Gardner (T) 6-3, 6-3
3. Chase Brown (R) beat Trevor Miller (T) 6-0, 6-0
1. Keygan Moiser/ Chase Butler (T) beat Kyle Reinartz/ Austin Utter (R) 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4
2. Andrew Dunwoody/ Aaron Meiser (R) beat Tyler Heckaman/ Jared Bules (T) 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-1

Leo 5, Blackhawk Christian 0
1. Herran (L) d. Hall 6-1, 6-2
2. Roth (L) d. Yourdon 6-2, 6-0
3. McDaniel (L) d. Carlson 6-0, 6-1
1. Steiner/Miller (L) d. Kaufman/Winkregg 6-2, 6-0
2. Parker/Bonecutter (L) d. Mossburg/Bunner 6-0, 6-1.

Fremont 4, Northrup 1
1. Trusty (F) d, Acra 6-0, 6-0
2. Camp (F) d. Marsh 6-1, 6-0
3. Crotty (F) d. Pham 6-2, 6-1
1. Imnoff/Lyon (N) d. Sherbondy/Chelinski 6-2, 6-3
2. Townes/Weisenfelder (F) d. Millar/Phan 6-2, 6-2.

DeKalb 5, Fremont 0
1. Keutebuch d. Trusty 6-4, 7-5
2. Cruz d. Camp 6-2, 6-3
3. Holworda d. Crotty 6-0, 6-0
1. Novak/Smith d. Chelinski/Sherbondy 6-1, 6-0
2. Gurtner/Lantz d. Weisenfelder/Townes 6-1, 6-0

Angola 3, Northridge 2
1. Grevengood (N) d. Davis. 7-5, 7-6, (4)
2. Rodino (N) d. Wells 6-2, 6-0
3. Wyatt (A) d. Tavernier 6-4, 6-3
1. Griffiths/Nofziger (A) d. Coons/Firstenberger 6-1, 3-6, 6-2
2. Nafziger/Hottell (A) d. Brouillette/Glen 6-3, 6-3.

Lafayette Jeff 3, Western 2
1. Pranav Haran won 6-0, 6-0
2. Western lost
3. Western lost
1. Mason Anderson/Ashton Guyer won 6-2, 6-1
2. Western lost

Eastern 5, Northwestern 0
1. Isaac Beachey won 6-0, 6-0
2. Matt Harrison won 6-2, 6-2
3. Lukas Darling won 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
1. Manny Moreno/Josh Rush won 6-1, 6-0
2. Caleb Newhouse/Andrew Hartman won 6-4, 6-1

Wabash 3, Madison-Grant 2
1. Rob Ford won 6-0, 6-3
2. Luke Mattern won 6-1, 6-0
3. Alex Driscoll won 6-0, 6-0
1. Matt Stein and Asif Khan lost 5-7, 4-6
2. Gage Ballard and Jonah France lost 4-6, 2-6.

The first district rankings have not yet been released.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Climbing Report 2: Northridge

Facebook Photos
Instagram Post

Varsity Match Summary
As we got ready to play at Northridge, a cloud rolled in. One cloud. It flung a couple huge drops on the court, but looked like it would blow past, until it opened up and rained for 5 minutes. That was how our day went. At first, Jacob Woolace, who was going to play varsity singles tonight, had a sore ab muscle. Just one problem, so no problem. He'd stretch and everything would be okay :-) Maybe we'd have to switch him to doubles but...

Then the skies broke open and it started raining. Jacob didn't feel any better and the trainer said no playing. Will, who was slotted to play #3S, had a back spasm. So that took two singles players out of the lineup. Then, as the warmup ended, Caleb let me know that his back hurt so much he couldn't move well. And it was starting to seem like this was going to be a never ending bummer of a night.

And there's really no denying that our singles suffered from the injuries. Caleb looked nothing like his energetic and active match yesterday. With reduced movement, he couldn't get the same hits on the ball, struggled to split step, and couldn't capture a game. With Jacob and Will's absence, we moved the lineup around a bit and put others in their spot - and we didn't win very many games.

But there were still inspiring moments. Joel Yoder stepped in at #3S and played an exceptional match. Against a very talented freshman, who had every textbook shot in the book in his arsenal, Joel was able to keep points alive. Joel was able to be in control with his forehand. Joel showed incredible stick-to-itiveness.

But while the singles struggled, the doubles really came alive. Listening to my mantra of simple and aggressive tennis, Dustin and Jonathon rallied from 0-3 in the first set to truly take control of their match. With good hands, great lobs, and a wide array of other well placed shots, they fought their way to a 7-5, 6-2 win.

The #2D match was the highlight of the night, with Jonah and Nathan playing such solid doubles. I was so pleased to see them make adjustments to the way that I coached. Something we'll continue looking at in practice is our ability to adapt to situations, to change. Nathan and Jonah played a great first set, taking advantage of errors that the Northridge team made. So our Bruin #2D's just kept the ball in play and attacked the net. But in the second set, we started to make an abundance of errors. So going to a third set, we needed to mentally come back, be ready, start anew.

And we did, but then we had to battle a new enemy - nerves. As the match drew to its close, Jonah and Nathan were both feeling the nerves. But they listened to my advice for dealing with those nerves. When feeling under pressure, you have to get your muscles loose by moving. They did that, jumping around the baseline between points. Then, you have to imagine what you are going to do in that point, the awesome shot you will hit. Finally, you have to swing through those shots, even if you are nervous to do so. At the end, it was these things that pulled out the big games for Nathan and Jonah, with Nathan holding serve twice to seal a 7-5 victory in the third set. 

So, we lost 3-2. But the last match to come off the courts was the inspiring #2D match, which left me feeling really good about where the team might go... and the example that Nathan and Jonah had just showed us as they climbed up the ladder.

JV Match Summary
It's a tiring beginning of the year. This morning, I got up at 4:45 to run to Kroger and get popcorn for a class lesson today. My back is sore with the tension of coaching two long tennis matches in 2 days. My brain is tired from trying to keep track of tennis schedule and teaching schedule.

I can't even imagine how it is for you guys who are actually playing in these matches.

I mention this because the word I'd use to describe most of our JV last night is "drained." Against Jimtown, we looked excited and ready. Our body language, even in our defeats, was positive and hopeful. Tonight against Northridge, we didn't really see that. And it's easy to understand why.

Despite that, there were definitely some good matches and moments across the JV. Some I'll cover below, but I'll just point out that Braden Bohn gave great fight. In a match against a older, stronger player, Braden kept in it. And at the end of the match, I challenged Braden to try a new strategy. He won 3 straight games when he put that strategy into action. I was inspired to see that effort.

Both our #2D and #4D came away with wins on the evening, and I was glad to see that for them. In some of the doubles losses, there was great pieces. Tyson had excellent net movement, Philip was stroking the shots well, Braydon stuck with it and stayed positive.

But in general, we're going to want to learn from this match, and figure out how to create more energy in the matches where we don't feel it. More about that tonight at practice!

Climbing Report (Great Moments of the Match)
For the most part, we'll be having 5 different great moments of the match. As we go up, these moments will more and more exemplify what I hope our team will be like. In other words, the 1st rung and 2nd rungs might just be cool moments, but the top rungs are examples of the type of tennis we should be moving toward.
1st Rung - Grit. Late in the third set, with the score tied at 3-3, Nathan and Jonah went down 15-40. In that game, Jonah got pushed way off the court to his right, and stroked the ball back over the net. But it was cut off by the Raider net man, sending it right back down the middle. Jonah sprinted to his left and lunged out to get the ball with an awkward backhand. It lobbed over the net man, and kept the point alive! Eventually, #2D won the point and kept the game alive. They then won the next three points in a row to take the lead, 4-3, in the final set. All kept alive by Jonah's grit and hustle.

2nd Rung -  Improving strokes. I love to see the way that each JV player, especially the freshman, are starting to improve their strokes. I saw that most tonight in Joseph Mounsithiraj. Joseph's serve continue to gain consistency and power. His forehand continues to become more and more of a weapon. Both were used to great effect in his match tonight.
3rd Rung - Playing your best. Joel was suddenly promoted to #3S tonight, after playing #1DJV on Monday. Not that he didn't deserve to play there, but it was a sudden move. But rather than get freaked out, Joel simply committed to hitting his best shots. He was realistic about his match with me at the fence, and then worked his tail off to win points. After the match, he had nothing to be ashamed about. He played great, and could smile like crazy.

4th Rung - Confidence under pressure. Nathan and Jonah had plenty of pressure in their match. But I loved how they shook this off, literally bouncing up and down and shaking their arms. I loved how they stayed ready to win their match, rather than just hoping that the other team would do things to lose the match. A great example of this was in Nathan's second to last service game. Nathan struggled with double faults in the game, but was mixing them in with big serves. So Jonah wasn't doing much. But even in the pressure of the match, Jonah stayed ready. In the last two points of the game, Jonah put away volleys that hung across the net, and that helped give the Bruins the 5-3 lead in the match. It a great job staying focused when it was difficult.

5th Rung - Doing the honorable thing. In the #1D match, we were serving and were down 30-40. A long point ensued, and Logan Corns of Northridge was drawn off the right hand corner of the court where a ball from the #2D match had accidentally rolled. With correct judgment, Eric Firstenberger of the Raiders called a "let" as the ball was in his partner's way. However, the call came as Dustin was hitting the ball and Dustin hit the ball out - which would have meant that Northridge would have won the game. A "let" meant replaying the point. Jonathon thought he had heard the let call, so he asked. It would have been so easy to lie here, and say that no "let" call had been made. But Eric Firstenberger honestly said he had made the "let" call and that the point had to be replayed. Even when examples of outstanding leadership come from other teams, I think we should be inspired by them. It was a very upstanding move to be honest at a tempting time.

#1S - Caleb Shenk - 0-6, 0-3 - Simon Grevengoed (12)
#2S - Liam Bradford - 0-6, 0-6 - Gabe Rodino (10)
#3S - Joel Yoder - 1-6, 1-6 - Cooper Tavrnier (9)
#1D - Dustin Miller/Jonathon Yousey - 7-5, 6-2 - Logan Corns (12)/Eric Firstenberger (12)
#2D - Jonah Farran/Nathan Oostland - 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 - Brant Brouillette (11)/Avery Mantyla (10)

Junior Varsity
#1SJV - Braden Bohn - 5-8 - Connor Glenn (12)
#2SJV - Chris Craw - 2-8 - Cameron Henry (9)
#1DJV - Braydon Harshberger/Philip Krabill - 2-8 - Nick Garcia (12)/Aaron Cripe (9)
#2DJV - Tommy Nguyen/Joseph Mounsithiraj - 8-1 - Tyler Crisp (9)/Chris Peters (9)
#3DJV - Tyson Miller/Aaron Shenk - 0-8 - Nick Garcia (12)/Aaron Cripe (9)
#4DJV - Kameron Branum/Theo Siemens-Rhodes - 8-2 - Tyler Crisp (9)/Chris Peters (9)

Area Scores - 2017

Jimtown 3, NorthWood 2
1S. Holden Price J beat Wes Troyer, 6-2, 6-0
2S. Ben Clarke J beat Landon Holland, 6-1, 6-2
3S. Austin Pearison J beat Jack Wysong, 6-3, 6-4.
1D. Jared Hoffman-Brant Mast NW beat Andrew Emeigh-Nate Behrens, 6-3, 6-0
2D. Trevor Klotz-Trajan Schwartz NW beat Tim Gardner-Preston Phillips, 6-2, 6-1.

Goshen 5, West Noble 0
1S. Wes Beck beat Marcus Weimer, 6-1, 6-0
2S. Simon Myers beat Isaac Weimer, 6-1, 6-0
3S. Ryan Harmelink won by default.
1D. Diego Torres-Ben Bontrager-Singer beat Brock Bonde-Caleb Thompson, 6-1, 6-4
2D. Drake Crowder-Tony Quann beat Andrew Shaw-Dillan Sumowski, 5-0, retd.

Marian 4, LaPorte 1
1S. Cam Rafinski M beat Tristan Poe, 6-0, 6-2
2S. Joshua Bussan M beat Abe Gray, 6-0, 6-0
3S. Caleb Suarez M beat Carson Stallbom, 6-3, 6-0.
1D. Michael Gray-Dominik Rafinski M beat Trevor Perry-Brant Maudlin, no score provided
2D. Adam Manering-Graham Siefker L beat Jamison Whitaker-Dustin Greer, 6-2, 6-3.

Triton 3, Glenn 2
1S. Carter Kuntz T beat Gabe Weiss, 6-1, 6-1
2S. Alex Ross G beat John Gardner, 7-5, 6-4
3S. Trace Jones G beatTrevor Miller, 6-3, 6-0.
1D. Keygan Mosier-Chase Butler T beat Alex Kruk-Matt Moore, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1
2D. Tyler Heckaman-Jared Bules T beat Anthony Kaser-Brandon Goble, 7-5, 6-3.

Triton 3, Knox 2

Plymouth 3, Elkhart Central 2

Lafayette Jeff 5, Eastern 0

Portage 4, Hobart 1
1S. Zack Gertzen (P) d. Cade Brumley 6-0, 6-1
2S. Bryce Kissinger (P) d. Evan Kara 6-2, 6-2
3S. Charles Crayton (H) d. Ryan Winkler 6-2, 6-4.
1D. Evan Gerike-Alex Bourge (P) d. Dante Canchola-Cannon Briggs 6-2, 6-0
2D. Ronnie Wilkins-Bryan Garrison (P) d. Max Janich-Nick Kolapanis 6-0, 6-1.

Highland 5, New Prairie 0
1S. Matthew Cotner (H) d. Evan Knowlton 6-1, 6-0
2S. Meet Patel (H) d. Josh Ferrell 6-4, 6-1
3S. Daniel Wilson (H) d. Wrigley Hemphill 4-6, 6-2, 10-4.
1D. Mason Gluth-Alex Lopez (H) d. Levi Britton-Joe Henning 6-1, 6-7(6), 10-6
2D.  Fred Kepler-Chris Peters (H) d. Isaac Kuczmanski-Wreese Hemphill 6-0, 6-1.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Climbing Report 1: Jimtown

Facebook Photos
Instagram Post

Just a special note on this match. Jimtown's coach, Steve Fledderman, let me know before the match that this is his last season coaching tennis. I have the highest respect for all the different coaches in our Sectional, because they have all shown to be great coaches and role models to their players. Coach Fledderman has been kind to me as I started out as a 22 year old fresh out of college trying to figure out how to organize and teach my players. He's had great teams and I remember how great I felt back in 2009 watching his team win their first Sectional. I think they've got a great team again this season, and I wish Coach Fledderman the best of luck. It's been a great honor to compete against him these past 15 seasons.

Varsity Match Summary
Coming into this match, I emphasize one thing to the varsity - this Jimtown team was going to be good, and I wanted to see us show some grit. To stick-to-it and not give up.

Well, we got the chance in the varsity match, and I'd say resoundingly that we responded well.

In each varsity match, play began fairly even. Liam won his first game at #3S, Caleb was even at 2-2 in the beginning of his match, as were #1D and #2D. At #1S, the points were long and the rallies intense. Both players were covered in sweat by the end of the first point.

But as well as things started, they turned south for the Bruins pretty quickly. In fact, despite being tied at 2-2 in three different matches, 6-2 was the closest anyone got in their first set.

Yet, that set us up for the challenge of the night. Who would respond by digging in, showing some energy, staying mentally and physically in the match? Because that's when you actually do get better. When things are hard and you stick to it.

So, basically everyone stuck to it.

The most dramatic results were at the doubles positions. At #1D, we went down 3-0 in the second set and then had a little talk about how to play doubles. Simple, simple, simple. Make the simple shots. And Dustin and Jacob changed their energy and attitudes. Pretty soon, they were swinging the cards around to read 2-3, and then quickly 4-3 for us. Of course, Dustin has a flair for the dramatic, so though we held the lead for much of the set we had to go to a tiebreak. But in the tiebreak, the Bruins prevailed with some timely volleys and overheads to send the #1D match to a third set.

At #2D, the story was much the same. Making the simple shots, showing a lot of hustle, that gave Nathan and Braydon a lead in the second set. We led by one game all the way through the set, 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, 4-3, 5-4 and had a chance to serve it out and go to a third set. Unfortunately, some nerves got to our serves and we couldn't close the set. The Jimmies used that momentum and increasing tentative play on our side to secure the match.

At the singles positions, the second sets were (score wise) mostly like the first sets. However, the difference in attitudes was awesome. Jonathon continued to track down Holden Price's aggressive forehands and low slicing backhands. In fact, toward the end of the match he decided to work on his own aggressive play and get to the net. This attitude of working hard to improve was awesome to see.

Caleb did much the same. He had great energy in the first set as he forced senior Ben Clarke to dig deep as he finished the first set. But in the second set, Caleb lacked energy. After a quick pep talk, Caleb was back to his crisp footwork and positive reactions to his good points.

This is huge. This ability to dig in and stick to it allows us to walk off the courts feeling good. We know when we do this that we have nothing to be ashamed of, that our opponent is just better than us. And last night, the Jimtown team was just better than us and deserved their wins.

But we still had one match to finish, and that was the third set of #1D. Jacob and Dustin raced out to the lead in the third set. Jacob was somewhat injured, so he had to play even more simple in his shots. This may have worked in #1D's favor, because Jimtown became a bit wild in their play. Dustin and Jacob took a 5-2 lead. Then Jimtown found some energy, and we made some tentative mistakes, and all of a sudden it was 5-4. But in the end, Dustin played like a calming senior. After a couple of frustrating double faults, he gathered himself and served two great (but not powerful) serves, hitting great placements out wide on both, to seal the 1 varsity point for the Bruins.

So, this is the first rung of the season for us. But I think we've sealed this step with some good stuff - energy, grit, and the power of focus. Let's climb on up.

JV Match Summary
As often happens, the story of the varsity could be the story of the JV. The JV match tonight was one of great effort and great comebacks, but again we fell just short in the final score.

Highlights definitely included Will Nisley at #1SJV. He went down 1-5, but instead of hanging his head, Will changed strategy. And he picked a great strategy, he decided to make his opponent move. Doing this, he pulled back into the match, getting back to 4-5. He couldn't quite complete the comeback, but the effort was awesome.

That effort was key all the way through the JV lineup. At #2S, Braden Bohn was right with his opponent until Braden's serve kind of fell apart. But when he got to play another match, Braden stayed with his serve and figured it out. At #1DJV, Joel and Philip had to get used to playing an energetic pair on the other side, but they continued to do the things necessary to play good doubles, trying to take the net and get forward.

Jonah and Chris made a sweet comeback, pushing their match to a tiebreak and playing with great energy. Chris had several slams in key moments to win points, but Jonah was all over the place in this match, whipping in his forehands and covering behind Chris. It was awesome to see his energy.

Going down the lineup, Joseph and Tyson played a nervy first match together, but got to play second matches with upperclassmen. Each of them hit much more confidently in the second matches, evidence of their improvement. Theo played the net almost as good as any player on the team, seeking down balls all across the net.

And Aaron and Kameron, well, what can I say. Their togetherness, their joy, their smiles at just swinging their rackets at a moving target - it was awesome. It sums up what I hope for our team, which is why you'll find more about that in the next segment.

In the end, the JV match was good effort with inconsistent execution. I think you'll see that theme show up all throughout the JV season. Consistency comes from great movement and great repetition, and that's where we've got to go next.

Climbing Up (Great Moments of the Match)
For the most part, we'll be having 5 different great moments of the match. As we go up, these moments will more and more exemplify what I hope our team will be like. In other words, the 1st rung and 2nd rungs might just be cool moments, but the top rungs are examples of the type of tennis we should be moving toward.

1st Rung - Just a cool shot from the right position. Dustin Miller, in the midst of he and Jacob's big comeback, slid to toward the middle of the net during a cross court rally - which is exactly what a net player should do. When the Jimmies put up a weak lob, Dustin pounded the ball down into the court and it bounced over into the pine trees.

2nd Rung - Enthusiasm and energy. I loved that I saw this from Jonah Farran tonight. His match was intense, close, and Jonah put his energy and enthusiasm into every stroke. I loved that he celebrated big points, where he had put effort in chasing balls all around the court. I loved that he pumped his fists and jumped in the air.

3rd Rung - Joel Yoder's match winning forehand was awesome. Technique wise, it probably wasn't the thing that I'll be emphasizing ever to my teams. Run as hard as you can then swing as hard as you can isn't sound tennis advice :-) But it makes for one awesome shot, and when you hit it on match point, it definitely makes our list. But 2 things we can definitely take from this. One, Joel totally stuck with the point. He has driven out wide to his backhand corner, and had to flat out sprint to get back to the next ball. Two, when his shot went in, the whole team exploded in cheers and encouragement for our #7DJV match. I love when the team gets excited about absolutely every match. Thanks guys!

4th Rung - Jacob Woolace impressed me in this match. The first serve of the match, Jacob pounded a massive ace. This may have been a bad thing. Because for the rest of the first set, Jacob had it in his mind to hit hard and play big. But in the second set, when he and Dustin were down 3-0, I emphasized to Jacob to play simple doubles. Serves in, make the simple shot, hit the simple volley. And he did that. He listened and turned his game around. The point that most exemplified this was on Jacob's serve. He hit a solid serve (but not a powerful one) and the ball was returned to his forehand. He took the next shot back crosscourt and came forward to the net. The next ball was a lob that was slightly behind him, so he hit a controlled overhead down the middle. The Jimtown player's backhand floated into his forehand volley, and Jacob came close to the net to hit an angled volley with medium pace. Four simple shots, nothing special or crushing, and he had won the point.

5th Rung - JOY! I love when we just love to play tennis. Win, lose, whatever... my heart is full when I see you guys enjoying the game and being together. Last night, Kameron Branum and Aaron Shenk did that. Coming off the court from their #4DJV match, they were full of enthusiasm. "That was the best match I've played." "It was so much fun!" "Can we play together again tomorrow?" "Did you see how my serve improved?" The energy, smiles and joy at the improvement, the joy of playing together, the thrill of competing. They didn't even tell at first whether they'd won or lost :-)

#1S - Jonathon Yousey - 2-6, 1-6 - Holden Price (12)
#2S - Caleb Shenk - 2-6, 2-6 - Ben Clarke (12)
#3S - Liam Bradford - 1-6, 2-6 - Austin Pearison (11)
#1D - Dustin Miller/Jacob Woolace - 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 - Andrew Emeigh (12)/Nate Behrens (11)
#2D - Braydon Harshberger/Nathan Oostland - 2-6, 5-7 - Tim Gardner (11)/Preston Philips (11)

Junior Varsity
#1SJV - Will Nisley - 4-6 - Andrew Coble (10)
#2SJV - Braden Bohn - 3-6 - Sam Wort (9)
#1DJV - Philip Krabill/Joel Yoder - 3-6 - riston Ingle (12)/Lucas Flick (10)
#2DJV - Jonah Farran/Chris Craw - 6-5 (6) - Andrew Eaton (10)/Koleton Dover (10)
#3DJV - Joseph Mounsithiraj/Tyson Miller - 3-6 - Nate Hochstetler (12)/Zack Gallippo (9)
#4DJV - Aaron Shenk/Kameron Branum - 6-4 - Peyton Wrathall (11)/Kole Ross (9)
#5DJV - Theo Siemens-Rhodes/Braden Bohn - 2-6 - Chandler Bridgewater (11)/Kayden Wolfe (11)
#6DJV - Philip Krabill/Joseph Mounsithiraj - 6-2 - Jon Sandoval (11)/Christian Vanderworf (9)
#7DJV - Joel Yoder/Tyson Miller - 6-3 - Ben Behrens (9)/Joe Saunders (9)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Legacy #02 - Show Some Love

Jesus is God with us, come to show us God's love.

When someone tells us that God loves us, that's a really nice thought. We often smile, nod, and sometimes try to take that knowledge into our heart to let it change us. But I often find that the word "love" gets used so often, that it comes to mean nothing. Depending on the time and place, even my sons telling me "I love you, daddy" can make me roll my eyes. Like when it's time to go to bed, and they are stalling, and they say "Daddy, daddy, daddy... um, daddy... um, I love you, daddy."

That's nice, now go to bed :-)

But because of the common usage of this word, we often miss it's actual magnitude.

So, when we say "love" we've typically reduced that word to meaning we like something or something feels good. But that's not the type of love that Jesus shows. Jesus shows us that when God tells us we are loved it goes much deeper than that.




In other words, Jesus shows us that God's love is incredibly gritty. That's a word we've been using to describe something we want to be true about Bethany Christian tennis players. We want to play with grit. We want to stick to it. We want to be committed to putting forth our best.

But in love, grit is when you'll stick with another person, no matter what they throw in your face. For example, I love the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. This takes place in John 4. Here's a woman who has many problems, so many in fact that she's going to draw water at a time when no else will, just so that she doesn't have to interact with them.

And when she sees Jesus, she throws out all sorts of excuses to make him turn away from her. She reminds him that she is a Samaritan and he is a Jew, so they aren't supposed to talk. She makes the excuse of being a woman talking to a man, which may have been inappropriate to some. She brings up practical excuses, that Jesus has no instrument to dip into the well to get the living water he's offering her. Eventually, she even faces something she's ashamed of - that's she had many husbands and is living with someone who is not her husband.

And through all the excuses and the dodges, Jesus stays right there. He sticks with her. If she wants the living water, that will allow her to see her own worth and value as a person, then she's going to get it. Jesus isn't going to be the one to walk away.


That's the essence of God's love, and Jesus puts it another way in Luke 4:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

In other words, I'm not leaving you when you feel poor, imprisoned, blind, or oppressed. Instead, God's love is coming into those situations. It is going to get into the grit and the gunk of what has hurt you, and God's love is going to proclaim to those situations: YOU ARE FAVORED BY GOD. YOU HAVE INCREDIBLE WORTH.


Our team is going to show God's love this year, even through the grit and guck. We're going to do that because we're trying to follow Jesus, whose at the top of the ladder inspiring us and at the same time right there beside us, encouraging us through the Holy Spirit.

So, you might get frustrated. You might slam a racket. You might quit a drill. You might get angry at your doubles partner. You might get sick. You might get proud. You might win.

Through it all, we're going to be with you, reminding you that you have incredible worth.

Thursday, August 10, 2017


Match Summary
I'm always glad to travel over to Angola to begin our season. In so many ways, it feels like returning home. Of course, it's where my wife and I both grew up. The courts where we both played through our high school careers. And we visit Pizza King each time, the restaurant that my wife and I went to after every basketball game and tennis match while we were dating. There are so many familiar things about coming back to Angola.

But I don't remember a time where Angola has had a tennis team as experienced as this year. 

On the other hand, we are younger, playing 3 sophomores and a freshman on the varsity throughout this scrimmage. But our challenge in this match was to show grit, a stick-to-it attitude that would allow us to get better even if we weren't winning points, games or matches.

And that was the beautiful thing to watch throughout the night. Even though we only won two positions in the first round of the scrimmage, the guys were excited and ready to compete in round 2. And then when we came back, tired as it got later and hotter, we played with joy in the final round of the match. 

Of course, there were disappointments too. We didn't win as many games as we may have wanted to. We didn't always have the greatest attitudes. But these mistakes are opportunities. These are the places where we grow.

All in all, we got loose for the season. We got ready to go. It becomes even more real next week, as the matches truly begin. On to Jimtown!

Climbing Up (Great Moments of the Match)
1st Rung - We only won a couple matches during this scrimmage, but one that I was most proud of was freshman Braden Bohn. My favorite point was when Braden chased down a mishit ball near the net, using all of his grit to get there and slide the ball into the open court. That's the most fundamental part of being a BC tennis player, not being willing to give up.

2nd Rung - Dustin Miller manned the same position all night long, and he played it excellently. My favorite shots were when he played to his strength, zipping across the middle of the net to split the other doubles team with a stinging forehand volley. This was so beautiful because of its simplicity. Being in the right position and making a simple shot.

3rd Rung - Caleb Shenk served the first game of his match, and despite playing for the first time at #1 singles, he handled his nerves well and nailed two aces to open the match. What I loved about Caleb's aces were the ways that he used his legs. He brought his feet together and was able to put that leg energy into the shot. 

4th Rung - One of the hardest parts of tennis is responding when things aren't going well. Jacob Woolace started his first match playing really poorly. He could barely get a shot to find the court in the first game, and was obviously dejected when trading sides. But we talked about digging in, about finding the court, and Jacob's attitude turned completely. He responded with energy this rest of the night, and played some of the best tennis on the whole team. That's the resilience I hope for from the whole team. 

5th Rung - My favorite point of the night was in Jonah and Tommy's doubles match. I loved it because it put so much of what we've been working on together. The point started with Jonah's serve, and then was basically Jonah sprinting left and right across the court. He covered behind his partner, he consistently hit the ball in, he was aggressive and came forward to the net. And he finished the point by making a smart play, hitting a lob to force both Hornet players to the right side of the court, before guiding a forehand to the open court.

Segment 1
#1S - Caleb Shenk - 2-6 - Jordan Wells (12)
#2S - Liam Bradford - 1-6 - Elijah Wyatt (12)
#3S - Jacob Woolace - 5-6 - Jack Hilyard (11)
#1D - Jonathon Yousey/Dustin Miller - 4-3 - Eric Nofziger (12)/Spencer Griffis (12)
#2D - Will Nisley/Braydon Harshberger - 0-12 - Trevyn Nafziger (12)/Luke Hottell (11)
#1SJV - Joel Yoder - 2-7 - Nick Boyd (11)
#2SJV - Chris Craw - 0-12 - Isaac Wyatt (10)
#3SJV - Braden Bohn - 4-3 - Brad Boyd (9)
#1DJV - Philip Krabill/Jonah Farran - 3-6 - Mark Atha (11)/Brenden Fidler (11)
#2DJV - Joseph Mounsithiraj/Tyson Miller - 1-7 - Ted Brandon (10)/Hayden Boyer (10)

Segment 2
#1S - Jonathon Yousey - 1-5 - Jaxson Davis (12)
#2S - Liam Bradford - 0-6 - Elijah Wyatt (12)
#3S - Will Nisley - 1-8 - Jordan Wells (12)
#1D - Dustin Miller/Jacob Woolace - 4-4 - Eric Nofziger (12)/Spencer Griffis (12)
#2D - Caleb Shenk/Joel Yoder - 1-7- Nick Boyd (11)/Jack Hilyard (11)
#1SJV - Philip Krabill - 2-8 - Brenden Fidler (11)
#2SJV - Nathan Oostland - 3-4 - Mark Atha (11)
#3SJV - Tommy Nguyen - 2-5 - Jergen Berquist (12)
#1DJV - Braydon Harshberger/Chris Craw - 3-4 - Anthony Duvendale (12)/Devin Stiefken (12)
#2DJV - Kameron Branum/Theo Siemens-Rhodes - 3-4 - Isaac Wagner (12)/Lucas Nelson (9)

Segment 3
#1S - Jonathon Yousey - 0-6 - Jaxson Davis (12)
#2S - Liam Bradford - 2-6 - Jordan Wells (12)
#3S - Jacob Woolace - 1-6 - Elijah Wyatt (12)
#1D - Dustin Miller/Caleb Shenk - 2-7 - Eric Nofziger (12)/Spencer Griffis (12)
#2D - Nathan Oostland/Will Nisley - 0-7 - Trevyn Nafziger (12)/Luke Hottell (11)
#1DJV - Braydon Harshberger/Joel Yoder - 2-5
#2DJV - Tommy Nguyen/Jonah Farran - 2-6
#3DJV - Braden Bohn/Aaron Shenk - 1-6
#4DJV - Philip Krabill/Joseph Mounsithiraj - 3-6
#5DJV - Angel Torres/Tyson Miller - 4-4

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Legacy #01 - Descend and Compete

Jesus is God with us.

There are some moments where I can't sleep at night. Last night, I was up thinking about the scrimmage that we just played with Angola. I thought about the moments that inspired me, like Jonah sprinting around the court to get to 7 or 8 balls before getting an open court putaway. I thought about the moments that angered me (which I'll spare from saying here). I thought about the ways I'd been outcoached, or not said the right thing, or hadn't been focusing on the right things in practice. It would be safe to say that last night, I was a wreck of tumbling thoughts.

But I needed to sleep. I had woken up at 2:07 and couldn't fall back asleep, and now the clock was reading 2:49. I had to be up in a little more than four hours. Sleep was important.

I tossed, I turned, I adjusted the blankets, I went to the bathroom, I moved to the couch. I tried lots of things.

But the last thing I tried was the only one that worked. I breathed in the name of Jesus as a prayer, and then slowly breathed it out. I told Jesus that I needed sleep, that I needed my mind to be settled. And as Jesus often does, His Spirit brought a simple thought to my head: "You are my son, whom I love. In you I am well pleased."

At first, I protested. Well pleased? I had done a ton of things wrong that day. Angry, sarcastic, and unnecessary words to my team. A confusing lesson to my first Social Studies class. Impatience with the learning process. Getting the team home too late on a school night. How could you be well pleased?

The next thought I had was also simple: "I'm here with you now. Let's work on the rest tomorrow."


This season, we've been talking about what legacy we want to leave. We've been looking at the truth that we're always being followed by someone, someone is always learning from our example. And so, we do well to follow a good leader, someone who will encourage us and help us see what we can be.

We've called this the ladder theory. We're following someone and someone is following us. As we climb up the ladder, we improve. We grow. Whether in faith, life, or tennis, this can is true.

When this is working well, it's awesome. To give a tennis example, Jonathon rocks a drill, working hard and drilling his forehands crosscourt exactly as directed. Philip follows Jonathon's example of working hard, and even though his forehands miss their mark, he begins to realize what he's doing wrong and his hard work begins to correct it. Braden watches Philip, sees that he's engaged in the drill and decides to listen to Matt's instructions so he can begin to hit a target crosscourt. And so on...

But the question is, what happens when someone is struggling?


Typically, there are two responses to struggling...

1. DESCEND: A leader descends and tells you everything is alright.
2. COMPETE: A leader leaves you behind as they continue to push forward, and hopes you follow them.

There are problems with both of those responses. The problem with #1 is that you know it's not true. You know that you are not alright. You know that you are missing the mark, that you are experiencing doubt, that you are falling behind.

The problem with #2 is that without someone close to us, to lead us, we can quickly lose hope and motivation.

And the problem with both is that Jesus didn't operate in either of those modes.

Jesus is God with us, but Jesus also pushes us toward God.


In John 5, Jesus stops by a pool. Not to take a swim or relax, though. This is a pool where disabled people gather, because they believe that the waters will be stirred up by a spirit, and if they can be the first to race into the water, they will get well. There's a man there by the pool who has been disabled for 38 years (!) and can't get to the water. When Jesus walks down to him, and asks him if he wants to get well, he responds that no one will help him.

This man has been surrounded by people who are competing, using theory #2. People who are taking care of their own improvement and not worrying about others. But Jesus doesn't buy that. Instead, he comes to sit next to the man. To talk to him. To get to know him. To BE WITH HIM. And eventually, he offers the man healing.

So Jesus has descended.

But he doesn't just stop there. He doesn't just say, "Okay, dude, I healed you. Go back to doing whatever you do." Instead, Jesus goes and finds him again later and says, "Hey, glad you are still doing great. Now, let's do the next step to climbing the ladder. Let's stop sinning. Something worse might happen if we don't. So, let's take that next step."

So, Jesus is competing. He's ready to go up the ladder, but now, he's challenging this formerly disabled man to come along.

Jesus shows us that a leader, someone who wants to leave a legacy, both descends to be with those who are struggling and then encourages them to grow deeper in their faith, grow more mature in their actions, by doing these things together.


So, what's that mean in our context? Well, you need to be looking for those who are struggling, pulling up beside them and then both pushing ahead. That may be with confidence, so fill them up with encouraging words. It may be with effort, so grab them as a partner and work hard with them. It may be with lacking energy, so play as their partner or on their court, and encourage them to match your energy. 

Or maybe it's someone struggling with something deeper. Well then, pull up next to them and see if you can pray for them. Write them an email and ask if you can do anything. Send a text of encouragement. 

And remember that Jesus with God with us, always descending that ladder to be by our side, and then climb with us as we mature and grow toward God.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

New Season Coming!

Welcome, everyone, to the 2017 season!

Soon the website will go through the yearly cycle of celebrating the guys who play tennis in northern Indiana, specifically highlighting the players of our Bruins. But it's worthwhile to say that a lot of great tennis is going to be played in this part of the state, and we are happy about all of it. We can't wait to do our part.

You'll find our season schedule on the side of the page, and soon, I'll start posting the devotional thoughts that have shaped the first week of our season.

Again, welcome, and in the words of Dustin Miller, "Let's go!"

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Big Words from Wabash


What a fun day. Thank God for a wonderful group of guys to spend a Saturday with. Yes, we won this tournament. And so it makes it easy for me to say that this was a good day. But I enjoyed watching guys work through the bits of difficulty the day put in their way. I enjoyed the relaxed confidence in which people played their matches. No one panicked, no one complained, we just played.

Two years ago, I was reading a Eugene Peterson book. He suggested that the real way to go through life is "playing and praying." It is a relaxed way of sorting through life, praying through the difficult things and playing through the beautiful. But it is a freeing statement too, there's no worry in it. There's no fear. There's no anger. 

Saturday's tournament felt this way to me. I was either praying or playing. The moments of play were awesome - watching Brandon sprawl across the doubles alley to drop volley an Eastern player's best forehand, cheering Simon as he spiked an overhead to secure match point, bouncing on the bus to "Sarasponda." And the moments of prayer helped me keep perspective - prayers for us let go of anger, prayers for energy, prayers for protection, prayers for confidence, prayers for our team to be filled with the Spirit's fruit. Prayers for God's will - for Christ character to be forming in us.

The other thing I love about the idea of praying and playing - they are in progress. They are present tense verbs. And so I plan to keep right on praying and playing until the end of the season!

Enjoy some pictures! Read the scores! Pray and play wherever you are today!


vs. Taylor
#1S - Byeong Min Lim - 6-3, 6-0 - Bailey Owens (11)
#2S - Jonathon Yousey - 6-4, 6-3 - Preston Pearce (11)
#3S - Lucas Brownsberger-Keyes - 6-0, 6-0 - Jakub Hvizdos (12)
#1D - Simon Hurst/Brandon Nguyen - 6-2, 6-2 - Wynn Takacs (11)/Peyton Tracy (11)
#2D - Lane Miller/Dustin Miller - 6-1, 6-1 - Quentin Inman (10)/B.J. Pemberton (10)

vs. Wabash
#1S - Byeong Min Lim - 6-0, 6-0 - Luke Mattern (11)
#2S - Jonathon Yousey - 6-7 (1), 2-6 - Rob Ford (9)
#3S - Lucas Brownsberger-Keyes - 5-7, 2-6 - Alex Driscoll (10)
#1D - Simon Hurst/Brandon Nguyen - 6-2, 6-1 - Cal Stone (12)/Asif Khan (9)
#2D - Lane Miller/Dustin Miller - 6-1, 6-0 - Matt Stein (11)/Ayden Kochar (11)

vs. Eastern
#1S - Byeong Min Lim - 6-2, 6-1 - Ryan Manfred (12)
#2S - Jonathon Yousey - 2-6, 2-6 - Isaac Beachey (11)
#3S - Lucas Brownsberger-Keyes - 6-2, 6-0 - Manny Moreno (11)
#1D - Simon Hurst/Brandon Nguyen - 6-1, 6-0 -Zach Cowart (12)/Evan Kozienski (12)
#2D - Lane Miller/Dustin Miller - 6-2, 6-1 - Matt Harrison (9)/Caleb Newhouse (12)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sectional Draw

Here, it is. Thursday, at Goshen and against Goshen. Let's do this, together!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Big Words from Rochester


It's taken me a while to post this. Not because it was a bad match, on the contrary, we continue to improve and play our best tennis. Byeong Min Lim played amazing, despite feeling sick. He continues to show what tennis looks like when you are throughly in control.

Jonathon played one of his best matches of the season. Feeling tired, he decided to just relax and see what happened, and what happened is that he hit some great attacking balls. He was able to put pressure on the Zebra #2S, which paid off with a win.

Lucas didn't play his best, but we have those matches sometimes. It seemed like his opponent was really dialed in for this match, for whatever reason, and was hitting some pretty amazing slices and power shots with consistency.

The best match of the night may have been Brandon and Simon. They faced a team also playing their second year together at #1D, and owning a record of 13-1 on the year. Rochester #1D's only loss was a 5-7, 4-6 defeat in which they actually had held 4-3 leads in each set. So, they were games away from being undefeated. And Brandon and Simon made the match look easy last night.

And let me sing this doubles team praise, just for a bit. Brandon and Simon compliment each other so well. Brandon served excellent in this match, which set Simon up for so many putaways. And that is what Brandon is so good at. He has so many weapons that compliment his partner. If I had to choose someone to play doubles with, I would probably choose Brandon, so I could play Simon's role of smashing everything down :-)

And #2D was playing the same way. They are coming into their own here late in the season. A great win over Fairfield, a great match tonight, especially in the first set where they had everything working. Honestly, when they are serving well they are tough to beat. And they compliment each other well too, Dustin's groundstrokes, Lane's lobs and both of their net play.

I loved watching the JV play today as well. Unfortunately, we didn't get to play too many players from the other team. Jackson played a great match, Daniel flew around the court, and Liam played an opponent who chased down everything. And the rest of our JV played against each other, but it was encouraging to see how much they have improved. Jonah impressed especially as his groundstrokes have become amazingly consistent, Braydon and Chris both showed how well they've improved, and Caleb and Nathan took on Dustin in a practice game, and it was fun watch them compete.

But the thing that makes it hard to write about is that we keep doing the same thing. Getting better. Playing good matches. Making new on the court highlights. I feel like I keep writing the same thing.

So enjoy some pictures. Look at the scores. But the best part of the night was truly the drive to Rochester and back. In the bus, we had great conversation, reminding Bible classes, talking about what is going on in school, whether we'd want to be high school Bible teachers and much more. Being with this team continues to be really fun. Thanks guys!

At the beginning of the season, we made a big deal about purpose. That if your purpose was to win matches, you'd be disappointed at some point this season. If your purpose was to play a certain position on the team, you might be disappointed. If your purpose was to continually get better, your bad days would be really hard. But if your purpose was to be together, with your tennis brothers, then you would be sure to find joy. Nights like this remind me of that. Let's do this, together.

#1S - Byeong Min Lim - 6-0, 6-1 - Jackson Sawyer (12)
#2S - Jonathon Yousey - 6-3, 6-1 - Justin Phoun (11)
#3S - Lucas Brownsberger-Keyes - 3-6, 3-6 - Zac Dishon (12)
#1D - Simon Hurst/Brandon Nguyen - 6-0, 6-1 - Ean Pugh (11)/Austin Utter (11)
#2D - Lane Miller/Dustin Miller - 6-0, 6-3 - Chase Brown (11)/Carlton Mullet (12)

Junior Varsity
#1SJV - Daniel Robles - 8-3 - David Sayger (10)
#2SJV - Jackson King - 8-1 - Andrew Dunwoody (9)
#3SJV - Liam Bradford - 8-6 - Aaron Meiser (9)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Area Scores - 2016

NLC Tournament
- Goshen
1S. Jacob Grewe (Goshen) beat Dylan Staley (Wawasee) 6-1, 6-3
2S. Alex Serwatka (Concord) beat Hugh Birky (Goshen) 6-0, 6-3
3S. Simon Myers (Goshen) beat Zach Moser (Plymouth) 6-4, 6-3
1D. Logan Troyer/Bobby Sessa (Goshen) beat Justin Stout/Ryan Wettschurack (Warsaw) 3-6, 6-3, 7-6
2D. Hayden Steger/Spencer Britton (Warsaw) beat Diego Torres/Nathanael Wertz (Goshen) 6-2, 6-2

- NorthWood
1S. Will Boyer (Concord) beat Jared Hoffman (NorthWood) 6-1, 6-2
2S. Wes Troyer (NorthWood) beat Mkie Troyer (Elkhart Memorial) 6-0, 6-0
3S. Nathan Perek (Wawasee) beat Landon Holland (NorthWood) 7-6, 7-6
1D. Cam Stillson/Brant Mast (NorthWood) beat Evan Krueger/Tim Conley (Wawasee) 6-1, 6-2
2D. Jack Wysong/Trevor Klotz (NorthWood) beat Drew Wheatley/Eric Firstenberger (Northridge) 6-2, 6-3

NLC Tournament
- Concord
1S. Will Boyer (Concord) beat Jared Hoffman (NorthWood) 6-1, 6-2
2S. Alex Serwatka (Concord) beat Hugh Birky (Goshen) 6-0, 6-3
3S. Nate Slabach (Concord) beat David Homme (Warsaw) 6-3, 7-6
1D. Grant Clady/Nick Felke (Plymouth) beat Travis Hermon/Nathan Hermon (Concord) 6-4, 6-2
2D. Freddy Buckingham/Jake Lovette (Concord) beat Hudson Yoder/Tommy Holloway (Plymouth) 6-4, 6-3

- Northridge
1S. John Gerard (Plymouth) beat James Dugle (Northridge) 6-3, 6-3
2S. Simon Grevengood (Northridge) beat Andrew Gauger
3S. Gabe Rodino (Northridge) beat Chris Troyer (Elkhart Memorial) 6-0, 6-1
1D. Justin Walter/Brett Wilson (Elkhart Memorial) beat beat Luke Wogoman/Logan Corns (Northridge) 1-6, 6-3, 7-5
2D. Jack Wysong/Trevor Klotz (NorthWood) beat Drew Wheatley/Eric Firstenberger (Northridge) 6-2, 6-3

Penn 4, Mishawaka Marian 1
1. AJ Antonelli (P) beat Cameron Rafinski 6-0, 6-1
2. Evan Kovatch (M) beat Owen Kleppe 7-5, 6-4
3. Siddarth Das (P) beat Joshua Bussan 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (10-3).
1. Cole Pollyea/Mason Lee (P) beat Michael Gray/Dominik Rafinski 6-1, 6-0
2. Eric Spaargaren/Jack Spalding (P) beat Michael Deranelz/Kenny Klimelz 6-0, 6-0.

FW Carroll 5, Blackhawk Christian 0
1. Radke d. Hall 6-0, 6-1
2. Stoffel d. Yourdon 6-1, 6-1
3. Keuneke d. Carlson 6-0, 6-1
1. VanWyngarden/Yager d. Kauffman/Romines 6-0, 6-0
2. Smith/Hoerr d. Mossburg/Foote 6-0, 6-1.

Portage 4, Kankakee Valley 1
1. Austin Atterbury (KV) d. Zack Gertzen 6-0, 3-6, 11-9
2. Kodie Sorenson (P) d. Sam Sanzers 6-0, 6-4
3. Bryce Kissinger (P) d. Dan Monk 6-2, 6-0.
1. Alex Bourge-Evan Gerkie (P) d. Austin Martaxis-Garrett Brewster 6-1, 6-0
2. Ronnie Wilkins-Mikey Sobczak (P) d. Toby Alrich-Garret Ooms 6-1, 6-1.

Western 3, Peru 2
1. Pranav Haran won
2. Tate Lockwood lost
3. Berkely Seekri lost
1. John Sullivan/Chad Gifford won
2. Mason Anderson/Ashton Guyer won

Wabash 5, Blackford 0
1. Luke Mattern won 6-0, 6-0
2. Rob Ford won 6-1, 6-0
3. Alex Driscoll won 6-2, 6-0
1. Cal Stone/Asif Khan won 6-4, 6-1
2. Matthew Stein/Ayden Kocher won 4-6, 6-1, 6-0

HHC Tournament
- Eastern
1. Ryan Manfred lost to Rossville, defeated Carroll
2. Isaac Beachey lost to Rossville, defeated Taylor
3. Manny Moreno defeated Rossville, defeated Carroll
1. Cowsert-Kozienski lost to Taylor, defeated Carroll
2. Newhouse-Buck lost to Rossville, defeated Carroll

- Taylor
1. Bailey Owens lost to Rossville, defeated Carroll
2. Preston Pearce lost to Eastern, defeated Carroll
3. Camden Kimbler lost to Rossville, defeated Carroll
1. Peyton Tracy/Wynn Takacs lost to Rossville, defeated Eastern
2. Quinton Inman/BJ Pemberton lost to Rossville, defeated Carroll

#1 FW Leo 5, Norwell 0
1. E. Steiner d. Barger 6-0, 6-0
2. Herran d. Wilson 6-1, 6-0
3. I. Steiner d. Gerber 6-0, 6-1
1. Rother/Brandenberger d. Shively/Felger 6-0, 7-5
2. Jakacki/McDaniel d. Mader/Skiles 6-4, 6-2.

#3 FW Carroll 5, Blackhawk Christian 0

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Seniors: Daniel Robles

Thinking of Daniel and tennis, I can always get a movie running in my head of his best points. In that mental video, Daniel is scrambling around the court, sliding for balls that are out wide, getting back and hitting from an awkward position, crushing the ball to an opponent’s backhand. When Daniel is playing his best, he is flying around the court, giving every ball his best effort.

That’s what I love most about Daniel. His heart. He is thoughtful, he is a worker, he loves the others around him. He is willing to sit and talk, to contemplate and listen. I’ve loved conversations with him at tennis camp, about movies or music or food. I’ve loved watching him give his heart to others. I’ve loved watching his effort come out on the tennis court.

Without a doubt, I’ll never forget the Jimtown match at the beginning of this season. Playing #3S for the varsity, the match came down to Daniel’s position. He would win it or lose it for the team. And it looked like he might lose, down 6-3 in a tiebreak. All of a sudden, Daniel’s heart and effort paid off, and he won 5 straight points to bring home a team victory.

I hope that Daniel is able to bring this effort and heart to the community around him in the name of Jesus. I hope that he continues to be sincere and honest and grow in his conversations with others. I know that he will always hope the best for others.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Seniors: Brandon Nguyen

Brandon is the brother who is always there for you. So much there, that he sometimes could be taken for granted. He’s not been the best player in the class, maybe not even the best doubles player, and so he can be overlooked when it comes to tennis. But you don’t ever overlook players like Brandon when you are his coach or his teammate.

Brandon brings so much value to the tennis team. First of all, he works hard. Everyone wants to be a practice partner with him because they’ll get work done, and they will get better. Secondly, he listens well. In his match against St. Joe on Saturday, he wasn’t moving forward into the ball. The changeover after I made this observation, he changed it. He and Simon won 10 of the next 11 games. As a coach, I value this.

As a teammate, ask anyone who has played doubles with him. He is fun to play with. There’s no judgment when you play with Brandon. If you mess up, he’s the first to smile. If you get frustrated, he’ll give you some encouragement. And when it comes to playing with him in doubles, he’s a blessing because of his awesome crosscourt battling shots. That heavy topspin provides his partner with so many putaways. Coach after coach this weekend mentioned how well he sets Simon up for the big slams.

And Brandon just keeps playing, smiling, and hitting. No matter the accolades or attention, he stays faithful to who he is as a player and as a person. I appreciate that work, that encouragement, and that faithfulness. I love to see him skipping across the court to give his partner a high five.

My hope is that he is always one who stays faithful to the relationships he values. That his encouragement and energy and more go out to all who cross his path. Thanks for all that you mean to this team Brandon. Thanks for being the steady one we can count on, know that the work you have given has not been in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Seniors: Lane Miller

Lane has been a leader for the team since the time he started as a freshman. Then, he was just a leader and encourager of his class, but he has grown from that. And the appropriate term for Lane would probably be lead encourager, because that is what he is when he is at his best.

I also love Lane’s ability to differentiate time, place, and intensity. In other words, he is one who knows when it is time to work and when it is time to have fun. During practice drills, I can count on him to be working and challenging others to work. During team games, he’s relaxing and encouraging and cheering his teammates on.

By far, my favorite memory of Lane is when we was cheering his team on. It’s probably stuck in my mind because we have a video of it, and also because he often repeats it. But when we won Sectional in Lane’s sophomore year, Lane was so pumped afterward as we sung Sarasponda. At the end of the song, he turned away with fists clenched in joy and yelled, “Wooo!” There was such joy in that.

It also showed that Lane invests in other people. He really does. I know that he has been one to encourage others throughout the season. I remember reading his comments on Facebook last year, directing to a teammate who was struggling at the time, building them up and telling them he was there. He cares about others and has bought into the idea that the season is better if it’s about the team, not just about yourself.

Lane has also had his share of great tennis matches. From his sophomore season with Brandon as his partner, where they almost went undefeated, to pulling out the Westview match last year with Jackson, to his series of third set victories this year with Dustin. No match was as clutch in my mind as the tiebreak victory over Goshen. Not just his incredible overhead return lob winner, but the whole third set Lane where played with confidence.

I pray that confidence in Christ also continues to lead Lane. I believe that Lane has great skills of supporting and leading others, so I pray that he will be a devoted follower of Jesus. Thanks Lane, for your leadership and love.

John 13:12-15
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

Seniors: Byeong Min Lim

Byeong. Everyone looks at Byeong as he hits and immediately realizes what a good player he is. And he’s been more than a good player for us, he’s been great. He has won big matches for us - especially his sophomore year in the Sectional final. He has advanced to the Individual Sectional. He has made the All-District team, only the 3rd singles player from Bethany to do so.

Still, there is so much more to him than just playing tennis. Sometimes, because he can be quiet, we may think there is not that much going on behind his face. This weekend, one of the teams watching him play took to calling him “The Machine.” But I know nothing could be further from the truth. Behind the quiet is a man of gentleness, self-control, and prayer.

One of my favorite highlights of last year was having each of the players write a mission statement for the season that went beyond tennis. Byeong’s was this: As a brother, I co-create with God a team of joy and compassion by praying, encouraging others, and working hard with them. Some of my favorite memories of Byeong have come when he is praying and gently encouraging others. Last year, we had him lead a prayer in Korean for the team. And this year, after our Northridge match he sat and ate and gently encouraging one of his teammates who was having a bad day.

These traits - gentleness, prayer, and self-control - guide him in both life and tennis. I will never tire of watching him swing opponents one way and then bury a forehand down the line for a winner, watching him softly but solidly be in control. I pray that they will guide him through the unpredictable nature of life as well, that Byeong can come gently in prayer before Jesus and be encouraged.

2 Timothy 1:6-7
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God... For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.