It's hard, every year, to say goodbye to the team's season. It is terrible if you play tentative and poor tennis and then lose. Those types of losses stick with you for years. I remember losing Sectional matches when our best players weren't there, when we played awful and scared, when we never had the faith that we could win. Those are tortuous, because they always leave you wondering, "What if..."
No "what-if's" this year however. The Bruins put on a great display of playing their best tennis at the best time. And Fairfield was just better than us this year.
Not that we didn't try. Abe, Jesse, and Sol worked all week on developing a strategy that might change the end result against 3 singles players who dominated us in our first meeting of the year. All three guys had lost without winning more than 2 games against their counterparts. We changed our schemes, changed our focus, and worked hard at implementing it.
It worked, all of the guys had better matches than the first time around. Abe simply ran into a great player, and Jesse's match was much closer than the score indicates, but Jesse couldn't get the important points in this one. The deuces all fell his opponent's way. Sol however pushed and pried and found some cracks in his opponent's game on this day. In both sets, Sol had worked his way to 3-2 advantages, in fact holding a 4-3 lead in the second. But Marcus, a senior with 3 years worth of varsity experience, relaxed and hit out on the ball, and Sol got tight and with that little switch each set turned to the Falcons.
Our doubles, however, got the victories they had been hoping for when we last played the Falcons. At #2 doubles, Landon and Parth played a bit tight in the first set, but in the second set they simply relaxed and realized that tennis was fun. Then they played some of their best tennis of the season, easily winning the second and third sets and sending Parth off with a win!
#1 doubles, well, they followed their same pattern from the last match. They started quickly and won the first set easily, then lost quickly in the second. They picked their energy back up and took a third set lead, only to see it slip away and be in danger of losing it completely. But in the big moments, they were able to relax and be decisive. They got a few breaks along the way, including on match point when Joel's volley hit the net, barely crawled over and fell at the foot of the net, on the Fairfield side. It wasn't the best way to end the match, but Joel and Hans got the victory and will continue on in the #1 doubles competition.
After the match, we sat around eating and having a generally good time with one another. There was a sense of effort, a sense that we did our best. That's a good way to end the season. No questions, just effort, just our brothers eating together.
Thanks guys, for the season.
#1S - Abe Thorne - 1-6, 2-6 - Austin Christner (12)
#2S - Jesse Amstutz - 2-6, 1-6 - Adam Yoder (11)
#3S - Sol Brenneman - 3-6, 4-6 - Marcus Rhodes (12)
#1D - Joel Gerig/Hans Miller - 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 - Landon Nunemaker (11)/Nathan Azzarito (11)
#2D - Parth Patel/Landon Weldy - 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 - Samuel Clayton (12)/Isaac Miller (9)