Friday, October 1, 2010

BC v. Goshen - Sectional, First Round

Last March, I posted an article called Thursday Bracketology. The gist of the article was how the Sectional is set up, and where I'd like to be drawn. My conclusion was that we'd like to be drawn into the Thursday night match and win it, and get some momentum going. On Monday, we were blessed with a draw that gave us the Thursday night match, a chance to get things going. On Thursday, we took advantage, posting a 4-1 win over Goshen to move on to the semi-finals.

It wasn't all easy for the Bruins. The Redskins had shuffled some positions since the last time we played, and some of that shuffling made their team much better. They inserted a new doubles team into the lineup, sophomores Sylas Buller and Sam Stegelman. From #2 doubles, they moved Eli Metzler-Prieb into the #3 singles slot. These changes came in spots that we knew we needed to win, so that added some uncertainty to the match.

What was made very certain early in this match was that Ben Mast is an excellent player. He jumped out early in his match against Stefan Baumgartner, who he had defeated 6-3, 6-3 early in the season. Ben made it clear that he was not going to let it even get that close in the match tonight. Serving well and controlling the points in the wind, Ben found putaway after putaway to make a statement with a 6-0 first set. After losing the first game of the second, he cruised through 6 more to take a decisive win.

Seth Krabill followed the same pattern. After beating Redskin junior Seth Koble 7-5, 7-5 in the regular season, Seth Krabill jumped out early in his first set. The games were long and close but Seth Krabill was able to convert under pressure. Each swinging ball wide was another chance to force a Koble error or attack the net, which Seth did well. In the second set, Seth built a 5-1 lead again. After losing some opportunities to put the match away, Seth finally did at 6-3.

The two victories at the two top spots meant we needed one more to clinch. Nate Brendle got the honors of clinching the match for us tonight. Serving very well throughout his match, Nate also was able to find the weaknesses of junior Eli Metzler-Prieb. Nate was often able to gather himself and drive the ball in the court to Metzler-Prieb's backhand, causing many errors. Though the set scores were very close, Nate was able to gather himself mentally as well, coming through with the big points when needed. His 6-4, 6-4 win gave us a 3-0 lead, with the doubles matches still on the court.

#2 doubles was an interesting match. Faced most of the year with doubles team that didn't attack much or hit the ball hard, Russell Klassen and Blake Shetler had breezed to an impressive record. Goshen's switch in #2 doubles teams meant that they now had big servers and net attackers at the #2 doubles spot, in Sam Stegelman and Sylas Buller. Both were tall and imposing at the net, and though they had played JV most of the year, they had experienced success there, winning the JV NLC tournament.

Blake and Russell struggled early on in the match, but got things righted as they calmed down and hit there shots. After falling behind, they rallied back to take 3 straight at the end of the first shot. The difference was always aggression, and finishing points with that aggression. In the second set, Russell and Blake had that under control and looked like they were going to roll to an easy set. But at the end, despite several match points to end it at 5-2, the Bruins couldn't find the clincher. The match went on, but finally the Bruins were able to end it at 6-4.

#1 doubles was the last position on the courts, playing out a third set with no teammates left on the court. They were in that position because they had rolled out to a 5-1 lead in the first set and then finished the first set at 6-4. They were so focused and energetic in the first set, and nerves didn't bother them at all. In the second set, a lapse in that energy (and a ratcheting up of the intensity by Goshen) caused Kyle and Matt to fall down 0-3. But they picked it back up, battling back to 3-2 in the second. Unfortunately, the Redskins then found a pattern that they exploited for the rest of the match. They became ultra aggressive in their baseline tennis and forced errors with their big forehands. Drew Hostetler found his passing shot down the line, Jonny Tan rallied aggressively crosscourt. In this manner, they took the second and third set.

That was a disappointing end, a 5-0 victory would have been really sweet. But the 4-1 count moves us on to our match versus Fairfield. And we are ready for that, we've been waiting more than a week for another chance. Bring it on!

#1S - Ben Mast - 6-0, 6-1 - Stefan Baumgartner (12)
#2S - Seth Krabill - 6-2, 6-3 - Seth Koble (11)
#3S - Nate Brendle - 6-4, 6-4 - Eli Metzler-Prieb (11)
#1D - Kyle Miller/Matt Ebersole - 6-4, 3-6, 2-6 - Jonny Tan (12)/Drew Hostetler (11)
#2D - Russell Klassen/Blake Shetler - 6-3, 6-4 - Sam Stegelman (10)/Sylas Buller (10)


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  2. The weather forecast for Saturday is kind of questionable. Are there any changes to the weather contingency plans with Maple City down to 2 courts?


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