More firsts for the Bruin tennis program. First victory over the Warriors varsity. First win over Westview's #1 singles player. Continued great start to the season.
It wasn't all ups tonight. First of all, there was the wind. The wind is sometimes a bit of a downer, but tonight it was swirling and gusting all over. In the beginning of the match, it made it seem that the wind would be more of a factor than the actual tennis. Serving was difficult, as the wind pushed toss two to three feet from where they were tossed up.
And unlike other big matches, we didn't start this match particularly well. Seth was down 2-3, Ben was down 0-3, #2 doubles and Nate led close matches 3-2. Meanwhile, #1 doubles screamed out of the gate, taking a 3-0 lead.
But the evening was still young, and things were bound to change. While Kyle and Matt went on to close out the first set, Seth rallied on the court beside them to win 4 straight games. His game turned on his footwork and the aggressive nature of his forehand. Using big, deep forehands to control points, Seth watched senior opponent Nick Pfenning struggle with errors. With those 4 games, Seth won the first set.
Not to be outstreaked, Nate and #2 doubles won their sets with streaking ways. Nate played a much more consistent match tonight, not trying to pound through the wind but staying smart within it. His heavy strokes were simply too much for freshman Kohle Christner to match. As he gained control of his serve he stormed through the rest of the match, winning 6-2, 6-1.
#2 doubles extended their slim early lead to 5-2, before closing it out at 6-2. In the second set, they continued to use cut shots and strong net play and took another 5-2 lead. But despite several chance to finish the match, they found themselves changing sides again at 5-4. However, Blake's big serves ended the slide, and they sealed their victory at 6-4.
As these matches were going, Ben fell in the first set. However, he was able to gain a strategical foothold, an idea of how to play and win games in his match. Starting in the second set with more confidence, he battled back and forth with senior Steve Blinco, who had cruised past Ben in this match last year. Ben held a 1-0 lead, then 2-1, then 3-2, then 4-3, always holding serve to stay ahead. Then his streak began. Behind big serves, consistent groundstrokes, powerful passing shots, and well-timed attacks, Ben won three straight games to take the set (and leave Blinco frustrated).
Other matches were headed to third sets as well. #1 doubles had lost a bit of their edge, losing close games at the beginning of the set and then struggling with their form. They had lost the second and headed to a third. Seth as well had lost his quick feet and control of the points and fell in the second set.
So, 3 third setters. We needed one to get the team match.
But what strange third sets they were. Seth reestablished control, jumping out early and never looking back. Beside him, #1 doubles couldn't get anything to work and as their frustration grew, so did their opponents lead. They didn't get a game in the third, losing 0-6. But as they headed off the court, Seth gave out a big "C'mon!" and raced to his scorecard to flip it to 5-0. And in a few short points, he shook hands and clinched the victory for the Bruins with a 6-0 third set.
2 third sets down, both at 6-0, one for us and one for them. Was there one more 6-0 third to come?
Yep. Ben played gorgeously and watched Blinco become more and more frustrated with himself. The lead built from 1-0, slowly to 2-0, then a long game to 3-0. Then boom-boom-boom, it was a 6-0 victory.
And so, we took down a 7-1 team by a 4-1 score. It was a great night, a little tension and a lot of battle from the Bruins. And more records fell. No more 2-3 losses to the Warriors, no more zeros in our victory column against them.
Unfortunately, the JV lost again, this time by a 1-6 score. The win was provided by Abe Thorne, while Evan Grimes and Andrew Snyder almost provided a second point, and "JZ" was close to adding a third. I didn't get to see much of the JV matches, because of their playing at the same time as varsity. That's something I regret. I find myself really wanting to figure out why we just can't get over the hump and win a couple more matches.
But that's what we'll do in practice tomorrow. Hopefully with less wind to battle.
#1S - Ben Mast - 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 - Steve Blinco (12)
#2S - Seth Krabill - 6-3, 2-6, 6-0 - Nick Pfenning (12)
#3S - Nate Brendle - 6-2, 6-1 - Kohle Christner (9)
#1D - Kyle Miller/Matt Ebersole - 6-3, 2-6, 0-6 - Zac Mishler (12)/Nik Hostetler (11)
#2D - Russell Klassen/Blake Shetler - 6-2, 6-4 - Austin Schlabach (11)/Devin Bontreger (11)
#1SJV - Parth Patel - 2-8 - Brett Yoder (9)
#2SJV - Abe Thorne - 8-4 - Jake Churney (10)
#3SJV - Ryan Minter - 2-6 - Brett Yoder (9)
#4SJV - Justin Zehr - 4-6 - Jake Churney (10)
#1DJV - Evan Grimes/Andrew Snyder - 8-9 (4) - Jonathon Hostetler (11)/
#2DJV - Wade Troyer/Himal King - 5-8
#3DJV - Josh Helmuth/Joel Gerig - 2-6