When Daniel Buschert and Mikey Kelly compiled a 20-2 record at #2 doubles on our Sectional winning team of 2008, I thought I'd never see a Bethany doubles team dominate their position like Mikey and Daniel did. Sure, there would probably be an uber-talented singles player to dominate their position (like Mike Mallet of the late 90's or Seth Krabill this year), but for two players to combine for such brilliance, especially at a school as small as we are? Would we ever be that deep of a team again?
And two years later, I'm sitting here reflecting on what the combination of Russell Klassen and Blake Shetler did this year.
19 wins at #2 doubles...
only 1 loss together...
And it wasn't that they skated through an easy schedule. Daniel and Mikey faced the likes of Penn, Northridge, Concord. Russell and Blake took down teams from Northridge and Concord too, but threw in a win over a state-qualifying Valparaiso team. They also got a win over the Fairfield #2 doubles team that didn't lose until the Semi-State round against Munster.
Something Russell and Blake clicked. Russell could be emotional, Blake was often reserved. Russell pounded his forehand, Blake had a great backhand. Russell controlled the net with pokes and drop-shots, Blake commanded the net with overhead putaways. They spurred each other to play better, and in times of nervousness they covered for each other, like Russell denying a match point for Valparaiso with a killer crosscourt forehand and then Blake finishing it off with a big serve.
And perhaps we'll never see the likes of this partnership again in Bruin's doubles. Of course, last time I thought that about a 20-2 team, we had these guys step up for 19-1. What's next, 18-0?