Friday, September 30, 2011

The Story of Sectional: Round 2

Finals, finals, here we come!

On a day where the clouds cleared and the winds whipped the courts clear of water, the Bruins came out to play some tennis. And because we played some of our best tennis of the year, we move into the Sectional finals tomorrow night.

The most impressive play today probably came from Ike Lehman. In the swirling wind, Ike committed to the attack. Early in the match, Ike found his aggressive stroke and began to play some of his best tennis of the season. His opponent, Jacob Gongwer, had trouble finding the court with some of his strokes through the wind. But as the match settled in, Ike stayed in control. He ended up with an easy win and the first match off the court.

He was quickly followed by Blake, who after losing the first two games of his match to a pumped up Austin Ward, proceeded to win 12 of the next 13. It was amazing to watch him change from a tentative player into an attacking and confident one. Once that transition took place, the match quickened up and Blake took a 5-2 lead in the set.

Meanwhile, #1 doubles played their best of the season. Evan and Abe got a nice lead in the first set and continued to attack throughout the set. They were focused, they were on their toes, they were finishing balls and forcing errors. Soon they won the first set. It was great to see confident tennis from them. But they lost the second set as the Jimmies began to pick it up, shot by shot. Abe and Evan began to pick it up as well, but they couldn't quite find the game ending shots. They split sets and got ready for a third.

#2 doubles didn't fare as well, but played really well. Again, they got behind in the first and second sets. What was amazing to watch was the way they stayed positive and fought. In the first set, they got a game, they broke some patterns and they got to a 6-3 set. In the second set, they fell down 5-2, but came back to change the sides again to get to 5-4. Unfortunately, they couldn't get all the way back, but I was totally proud of the way they came back.

Which brings us to the clincher, Nathan Brendle. His match was intense, a battle from beginning to end. Both players put their full concentration into the match which made for some great shots, some great points. Nathan won the first set, fairly comfortably, and then took a 5-1 lead into the second set. All the sudden, Jimmies' #1 Dan Gongwer, totally changed strategies, forcing Nate to hit shot after shot. Nathan did well, but couldn't quite find the finish. But at 5-4... he found the swagger again. Two beautiful points and a double fault put him at match point, and a backhand in the net gave the match to the Bruins.

#1 doubles couldn't quite keep up the fight in the third set, but you no what, it wasn't a big deal.

Because we were on to the finals!!! You know, we've battled winds, rain, and cold. We have been hard-pressed, but we have been brought out... and now we will not be afraid. I can't wait until tomorrow!

- Psalm 118:5-7

The Scores
#1S - Nathan Brendle - 6-2, 6-4 - Dan Gongwer
#2S - Blake Shetler - 6-2, 6-1 - Austin Ward
#3S - Ike Lehman - 6-2, 6-1 - Jacob Gongwer
#1D - Evan Grimes/Abe Thorne - 6-2, 2-6, 0-6 - Brett Aller/Cole Peterson
#2D - Parth Patel/Jesse Amstutz - 3-6, 4-6 - Augie Farwig/Michael Hobbs

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