Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Story vs. Westview: Match #11

The Lead: "Singles Shine"
"That's the best, most consistent, I've seen three singles players play in a long time."

That was the quote from our assistant coach, Jordan Kauffman, after our singles players swept 3 matches from the visiting Westview Warriors. Those 3 straight set wins enabled us to squeak by for our 7th victory of the season, defeating the Warriors 3-2.

The good play started right at the top of the lineup. Junior Nathan Brendle was in excellent form, losing the first game of his match but then winning the next 12 straight for a 6-1, 6-0 victory. Nothing that Austin Schlabach could do seemed to threaten Nathan, who held his patience and was absolutely controlling the match with his placement. Also, Nathan's net play was very strong tonight, which allowed him to finish points well.

At #2 singles, Blake Shetler faced a vastly improved played in Kohle Christner. Christner's game featured a booming serve (something Blake has seen a lot of this year) and aggressive groundstrokes. However, Blake was still able to control a lot of the points, something we've been working on. He used this ability to force errors from Christner, which eventually gave Blake the crucial points. His consistently smart play led to a 6-3, 6-2 win.

The clinching point was again provided by Ike Lehman. In the first set, Ike struggled to figure out the key to Brett Yoder's big serve. Neither player could secure a break easily, and the set went all the way into a tiebreaker. Which is no big deal for Ike, it's only his 4th tiebreak set in his 8 singles matches this year. However, Ike had yet to win one. Ike kept his nerve as the tiebreak got longer and longer. He had several chances to end it, but struggled a bit with his serve under pressure. Finally, at 9-8 he attacked behind an approach to Yoder's backhand, and the passing shot flew wide.

With the first set in hand, Ike loosened up immensely. In the second set, he played some of the best tennis I've seen from him. With his confident strokes, Ike took a commanding 4-1 lead, and finished out the match 6-2.

We had lost the 2 doubles matches by that point, so with it all on the line, Ike played his best tennis. That's what we love to see. People getting better, playing their best under the pressure. Because that's what the Sectional will be like!

The Hidden Narrative
Singles dominance on the JV too. Although both doubles teams on the JV fought back to win tight matches, the JV singles players dominated tonight as well. Sol Brenneman continues to lead the team in wins, with Landon Weldy right behind him. Sol picked up his 7th victory tonight behind attacking tennis, which is really good to see. It is rare at the JV level to see someone really attack in singles, so for Sol to do that was wonderful.

Landon continues to get better throughout the season. His strokes have the ability to be very powerful, but hopefully he will continue to get better at placing them as well. Tonight, he overwhelmed his competitor with time and time again sweeping in the deep groundstrokes.

It was fun for these guys tonight, I'm sure, to get dominant wins and add another win to the JV's tally as well!

Other Storylines
- As mentioned above, Ike clinched his 3rd match tonight. He's now in the lead for clinched matches!

- Westview's strength was in their doubles. Their doubles teams entered tonight a combined 10-4 on the season. Nic Hostetler was part of a team that almost won the Individual Doubles Sectional last fall.

- Against that strength, we didn't fare our best. #2 doubles match was much closer than the score would indicate. We had chance after chance to pull back into each set after they both started close, we couldn't seem to finish the crucial points.

- The JV doubles matches were amazing. They stayed close the entire time. In the #1 doubles match, we trailed most of the match then took a 7-6 lead. In the #2 doubles match, we led most of the time, but then they took a 7-6 lead on us. In the end, both teams played some clutch points to win 9-7.

- Of the 14 regular tiebreak sets we've played this year, Ike's first set today contained the most points (18, as Ike won 10-8). Nathan had the longest before this one, going 16 points against Fremont in the second set (winning it 9-7).

- Speaking of tiebreaks, did you know that our assistant coach Jordan Kauffman hold the Bethany record for most tiebreaks won in a career? He won 12. This year's leaders are Abe Thorne and Evan Grimes, having won 4 tiebreaks this year. For their careers, they've won 5 varsity tiebreaks together, having defeated Churubusco in a tiebreak last year. Abe's only a sophomore, he might be coming for your record Jordan!

The Scores
#1S - Nathan Brendle - 6-1, 6-0 - Austin Schlabach
#2S - Blake Shetler - 6-3, 6-2 - Kohle Christner
#3S - Ike Lehman - 7-6 (8), 6-2 - Brett Yoder
#1D - Evan Grimes/Abe Thorne - 2-6, 0-6 - Devin Bontrager/Nic Hostetler
#2D - Parth Patel/Jesse Amstutz - 2-6, 2-6 - Jamar Weaver/Jonathon Hostetler

Junior Varsity
#1SJV - Sol Brenneman - 8-3 - Steven Geirek
#2SJV - Landon Weldy - 8-2 - John Campos
#1DJV - Wade Troyer/Joel Gerig - 9-7 - Hunter Christner/Jacob Churney
#2DJV - Himal King/Hans Miller - 9-7 - Taylor Eash/Lucas Mast

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