Friday, August 28, 2015

Prayers from Fremont

Match Description
We finally were able to pull off a close match, and I couldn't be prouder of our team. On a night when many things didn't seem to be going right, both the varsity and the junior varsity came away with 3-2 wins!

Like mentioned in the first paragraph, many things didn't go quite like we'd hoped. First of all, two varsity players were injured. This forced us to move the lineup around, slotting Daniel Robles into #3 singles, moving Lane Miller up to #1 doubles and Dustin Miller into his vacant #2 doubles spot. This juggling obviously affected the JV as well, moving Liam Bradford to #1 singles for the JV among other changes.

Despite the lineup changes, the pregame message was the same - we can. But then a second problem occurred - we went out and played some poor tennis. In most positions (except #2D) the varsity started out the match tentative and on the back foot. At every position (except #2D) we fell behind in the first set. At #2S and #3S, we actually lost the first set 0-6, and at #1S and #1D we were a game away from losing the first set.

But despite injuries and poor start, we were able to adjust within the match. Byeong suddenly found his consistent stroke, and began to work the point in methodical ways. Ethan began to attack his opponent's backhand. Daniel scrambled. Lane and Simon began to put pressure on their opponent's by moving forward. And Dustin and Jackson continued to dominate.

This is what I was so proud of. In pressure situations tonight, we responded. We came back to play better tennis. And the matches turned around. Simon and Lane fought into a tiebreak and won to take the first set, and in the second they kept the simple pressure on, limiting their mistakes and forcing errors from Fremont. Byeong found a better rhythm, and was able to fight back from 3-5 to win the set 7-5 and then take the second set 6-1. Even though we didn't win every position, we improved as the match went on.

And it was great to relax and know that we had responded to adversity. Now, just like the devotional thought from yesterday, we need to work on making it a habit. A rhythm. A part of who we are.

The JV was able to do the same thing. Despite playing some great tennis, Braydon and Liam lost singles matches to see the Bruins go down 0-2 to Fremont's undefeated JV. Then Jonathon Yousey completed his best match of the year, where he was attacking, driving the ball and staying on the front foot. That gave us our first win. Philip and Jonah played their best tennis as well, keeping the ball in the court (when they weren't grunting). They won 8-2. Which meant the JV match came down to Paul Krabill and Tommy Nguyen, who were trailing 5-6.

I told them at the fence that the match depended on them. I wanted to see how they would respond to pressure. And they responded. They won the next two games to take a 7-6 lead, with Tommy playing consistently and Paul stalking the net for overheads. After losing Paul's serve, they broke again to take an 8-7 lead. Then Tommy served out the win with 4 great serves that forced errors from the Eagles. Tommy stayed aggressive on his serve game, which helped keep him relaxed under pressure.

All in all, it was a great response tonight from our group. I look forward to moving forward with the guys, preparing for our tournaments and the rest of the season. For now, we've found some hope, now we need to make it into our rhythm.

for Jacob and Brandon
Lord, it was disappointing tonight to win a beautiful match without each of our players getting to play their part. I was sad for Jacob and Brandon, that they are dealing with sickness and injury. God, I pray that You speed up the healing process for these guys, so that they can join us in moving forward.

for Byeong
Lord God, help Byeong bottle his winning attitude. When he starts playing well, he relaxes, becomes confident, and stays so calm. Allow him to begin a habit of this attitude, this style of being. And thanks for his Korean prayer to begin practice the other day. How great it is to see Your worshippers coming from all corners of the world!

for Lane
Thank You for giving Lane a match that he played with joy. Continue to grow in Lane the ability to be joyful even when things aren't going his way. It began to grow at Concord and came to fruition tonight. Thanks for the gifts You've given and the way You continue to work.

for the team
Tonight was refreshing. It was nice to end a match with a rousing song, and actually feel like we meant it. And yet, this week has been long. To think that we played Concord just three days ago seems incredible. To think we have three matches ahead of us tomorrow seems exciting, yet daunting. God, breathe into us right now Your fruits of peace and joy. Let us rest and relax in Your presence. In Jesus name. Amen.

Moment of Beauty
This is the toughest night to give out the moment of beauty, like, ever. There were so many good points tonight. Jonathon Yousey had amazing strokes where he was coming forward with his groundstrokes, or hitting overheads from the midcourt, or watching the ball roll over the tape. Byeong Min was on top of his game, approaching and picking up low balls with the most exquisite volleys. Lane hit another scissor kick overhead. Dustin and Jackson were striking forehands and finishing volleys. Paul was hitting overheads from behind the service line off of Tommy's beautiful serves. And those things were all beautiful to watch. I wrote down 10 different points that could receive the award. But alas, only two will win...

The first is a no-brainer. It was probably the best shot I've seen from the Bruins yet this year, and it came from the racket of Simon Hurst. In the decisive game, with Lane and Simon leading 5-2, Lane struck a return that went right to the net player. The pace made the Eagle opponent frame his backhand volley. It clipped the top of the net and fell just inches onto the Bruin side of the net. Simon scrambled from his side of the net, and flicked his wrist, hoping to send the ball back crosscourt. The ball cleared the net by a nanometer and landed in the doubles alley on the Fremont side, the angle was such that the ball angled right off the court into the bench at the side. But the Fremont players didn't even move. They had no chance.

With one moment of beauty down, we've got one to go. This one goes to Braydon Harshberger. Many people played their best match of the season tonight, but Braydon stood out as one who has improved by miles over where he was at the beginning of the season. And that's what tennis is all about. Tonight, the point that captured this all was a long point where Braydon hit his forehand to many different sides of the court. Finally, his opponent was forced into framing a high lob just inside the service line. Braydon came forward to hit an overhead, and pounded an angled shot from his left hand overhead slicing right toward the sideline. The ball bounced on the line and spun right into Byeong's court, leaving Braydon's opponent helpless. A long point finished with an aggressive shot. Wonderful!

#1S - Byeong Min Lim - 7-5, 6-1 - Logan Miller (12)
#2S - Ethan Lapp - 0-6, 2-6 - Brandon Arnos (12)
#3S - Daniel Robles - 0-6, 1-6 - Evan Trusty (10)
#1D - Simon Hurst/Lane Miller - 7-6 (2), 6-2 - Jeremy Seiler (12)/Wade Regedanz (11)
#2D - Jackson King/Dustin Miller - 6-0, 6-2 - Keegan Connelly (12)/Jordan Rode (12)

Junior Varsity
#1SJV - Liam Bradford - 1-8 - Joe Conti (11)
#2SJV - Jonathon Yousey - 8-4 - Thayne Camp (10)
#3SJV - Braydon Harshberger - 4-8 - Quest Crotty (9)
#1DJV - Paul Krabill/Tommy Nguyen - 9-7 - Jacy Blades (10)/Cole Thomas (10)
#2DJV - Jonah Farran/Philip Krabill - 8-2 - Dylan Weisenfelder (10)/Josh Rode (9)

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