Last night, the Falcons wrapped up the Regional championship. It was a 3-2 win that came down to #1 doubles as the match went into three sets. I was happy for the Falcons, as I would have been happy for the Raiders. Both teams have coach's that I respect very much. Fairfield's Mike Filbrun is a coach who I competed against as a player with Angola, and now have played almost twice every year as a coach at Bethany. Northridge's coach, Evan Atkinson, is a good friend of my brother's, as they graduated from Taylor University together and played on the tennis team there. Both guys run great programs.
In the end, one reason I was glad to see Fairfield win because of what I had expected of us this season. I expected that we would be celebrating a Regional championship tonight. When we defeated Concord and Northridge early in the season, those hopes were only made higher. It was truly possible for us to win the Regional.
But for Fairfield. We ended the season with only 3 losses, and 2 of those came to Fairfield. They were simply the best team on our schedule and we had to play them in our Sectional. So seeing them win tonight "kind of" validated what I thought about our talent level. We could have won Regional, but for Fairfield.
And yet, it was interesting to watch the Regional final as a simple bystander. There was intense pressure, and the Falcons handled it well. They were practiced in handling intense pressure, having played 7 "3-2" matches throughout their season. They fell behind and they "battled" back. They were able to "focus", despite the myriad of fans, the meaning of the situation, a line judge being called to stand on the sideline of the match, and everything else that was going on.
When it came down to it, they were the best team in the region. They proved it in winning the Sectional and now this Regional. My full congratulations to you, Falcons. You've earned it.