Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Story vs. Goshen: Match #2

The Lead : "Blake in the Clutch"
The train blared in our ears as I looked at Blake and tried to determine our fate. The team match was 2-2. He was in the third set, up 2-1. I couldn't tell where he was at mentally, how things were going to go. "Stay aggressive," I said. "I will," he said walking back to the court.

With Redskin senior Drew Hostetler serving, there was a good bet he would even up the score of the final set. His serve had proven hard to break throughout the match, especially as he got the big booming first serve in. And as the game started, Blake lost three straight to fall behind 0-40.

But we've been playing "Thrice." Blake knew how to bring it back. First an error, then a big forehand forcing a off balance shot. A fist pump, then an excellent return forcing an errant backhand. Suddenly we were at deuce. Then two more. Five straight points Blake pounced on to take the 3-1 lead.

I knew we were golden right there. But just to seal it off, I reminded Blake to place his serves to the weakness, to continue to drive the ball. On his serve, Blake sealed a close game with a bomb to Hostetler's backhand and never lost his concentration on his driven groundstrokes. With a 6-3 third, Blake clinched our first win of the season!

The Hidden Narrative
Unfortunately, the untold story here is Goshen's injuries. They came within one set of getting the victory tonight, and were missing two varsity contributors (Adam Bratten and Paul Johnson) due to injury.

Either of those players makes a significant difference in the match. The way things worked out tonight, Jesse Amstutz breezed through the #3 singles match. If one of those guys are back, the match becomes very different. Last year, Bratten played incredibly well in our early season matchup, falling only 4-6, 4-6 to Nate. If he would have played #3 singles things would have been even closer.

It will be interesting to see the Goshen lineup come Sectional time. They should have a solid group of similar players. We'll be excited to see them again then.

Other Storylines
- Freshman firsts! Jesse Amstutz got the first freshman varsity win of the season, while Landon Weldy and Hans Miller picked up their first wins as well. Sol Brenneman is the early JV leader in wins, getting his 2nd tonight.

- Speaking of Jesse Amstutz, weird first 2 matches. He loses 0-6, 0-6; then he wins 6-1, 6-1. That's a down and up start to the year.

- Nate's played the role of a #1 singles player well this year, picking up 2 solid wins. Tonight it was his serve that did the damage. In the 1st set, his serve forced 13 return errors from senior Eli Metzler-Prieb.

- The #1 doubles match was all about the combination of aggression and execution. Early in the match, Abe and Evan struggled to get to the net. In the second set, they controlled many more points with a concerted effort to get forward. Unfortunately, inconsistency of serve and return still held them back.

- JV win! No JV losses tonight as we swept 5 spots that we played tonight. Wade and Justin also picked up there first wins, both with beautifully consistent tennis.

- Sophomores vs. Sophomores. Goshen's varsity contained 3 sophomores, while our had 2 with Joel Gerig just below. Is there a battle brewing for city dominance within that class. Yes and yes!

The Scores
#1S - Nate Brendle - 6-3, 6-3 - Eli Metzler-Prieb (12)
#2S - Blake Shetler - 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 - Drew Hostetler (12)
#3S - Jesse Amstutz - 6-1, 6-1 - Jorge Hernandez-Walton (12)
#1D - Evan Grimes/Abe Thorne - 0-6, 3-6 - Sylas Buller (10)/Sam Stegelman (10)
#2D - Ike Lehman/Parth Patel - 3-6, 2-6 - Matt Buncich (12)/Austin Stutzman (10)

Junior Varsity:
#1S - Wade Troyer - 8-4 - Zach Ganger (9)
#2S - Sol Brenneman - 8-4 - Andrew Vetter (9)
#3S - Landon Weldy - 8-2 - David Smucker (9)
#4S - Justin Zehr - 6-4 - Andrew Vetter (9)
#1D - Joel Gerig/Hans Miller - 6-2 - Zach Ganger (9)/David Smucker (9)

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