Thursday, August 20, 2015

Prayers from Goshen

Match Description
There was quite a different feel about this match than the Northridge match the other night. At Northridge, we felt timid. Today, we played with confidence. At Northridge, we looked indecisive. Tonight, we went for our shots and played our game. At Northridge, we looked nervous and angry. Tonight, we had fun.

We lost both matches, 2-3.

But this is simply another step in the maturity of our team. Tonight, we learned and practiced the attitude that we have to have to compete in varsity tennis. But, we also learned another great lesson - just because you play mostly the way you want, it doesn't guarantee victory. Our job is to control what we can control (our attitude and effort) and swing for our best.

At some matches tonight, we sustained close to our best for the whole match. Byeong Min looked confident and in control for much of his match. He's truly getting better at driving the ball around the court and moving with confidence. When he takes his little adjustment steps and slaps the ball to the corners, he is playing great tennis.

Other matches saw flashes of brilliance, but were sustained with solid play. On Tuesday, we saw flashes of brilliance and then dips of form. But tonight, #1D and #2D both played solid matches. They kept the ball in play and hit smart shots. They didn't become intimidating by opposing attacks and were able to put many balls away themselves. They started to play to their strengths. Sometimes they were beautiful (see the Moment of Beauty) and sometimes just simple. And this solidity forced the Goshen doubles teams to be very good, which they were.

Ethan Lapp played his best match of the year. Ethan moved better, struck the ball cleaner, hit more devastating angles. Evan Beck is a great player, and he really moved Ethan around the court. It was good to see Ethan respond with some killer shots, like his flattened cross-court backhand.

And Jacob. He didn't really have it for the first set, and then all of a sudden in the second, he found his strokes. Struggling on serve, he and Simon Myers went break for break in the second set, all the way to 6-6 and a tiebreak. But in the tiebreak, Jacob took the 6-1 lead by heavy topspin and well-timed short slices. In the third set, Jacob trailed until turning a 3-4 deficit into a 5-4 lead with a long angled backhand shot. He didn't close out the first game, but won the next two to take a 2 hour and 15 minute, three set win.

Tonight, I didn't get to see the JV play. But I know it was a big night for Paul, who got the first win of his senior season. I hope that Seth could say the same things of the JV players that I'm saying of the varsity. We may not have won, but at least we are moving toward playing the right way.

for Byeong
I pray that his recent run of good play will help him take an even bigger role of leadership. I pray that he will lead us in work ethic in getting better. I pray that he will show the rest of the team that even the best player needs to work. And I hope that he finds that role very rewarding.

for Jacob
I pray that Jacob is to build off his win tonight with confidence. I pray that he will feed off the positivity of a great win and carry it into the coming matches and practices. I hope that he will continue to smile, know that "he can." I pray that carries over to every area of his life too.

for Lane and Jackson
Lord, I pray for their consistent confidence. I pray that they develop a faith in their talents and approach that doesn't change with missed shots or missed opportunities. I pray that they take comfort in their relationship as brothers on the team, and move on with the next point when things don't go their way. God, bless them with peace in Your name.

for Braydon
God, I pray that Braydon will continue to grow in his belief in his own growth. I have seen him get so much better over the past three weeks. I pray that he sees this too. Thank You for his earnestness, his honesty, and his willingness to get better.

for Paul
Thanks for the blessing that is Paul. His work ethic and energy and willingness has been inspiring to me. Thanks for making him with the gifts he's been given, encouragement and desire. Thanks for continuing to work in me.

Moment of Beauty
Sometimes, big moments come under big pressure. Tied at 30-30 deep in the third set, Jacob crushed a forehand into his opponent's backhand. Throwing a racket out, the Goshen #3S player looped the ball high into the air. The advantage that Jacob had seemed to have disappeared as the ball land two feet inside the right sideline, five feet behind the service line. But Jacob had moved all the way over to take the looping ball as a forehand again. With an inside out swing, Jacob smacked a tight topspin shot short through the service box. It landed just inside the service line and bounded toward the fence, past the outstretched racket of Simon Myers for an excellent angled winner.

And in the third set of #2D, Lane and Jackson found themselves down a match point. After a serve and a scramble, Lane found himself backing up to get a lob. Under such match pressure, one may have guessed that Lane would run around the ball and take a forehand. Instead, Lane attempted a semi-scissor kick overhead just inside the service line. The resulting shot went low over the net, splitting his opponents through the middle of the court, skidding off the baseline and thudding against the hitting wall for a winner. It was an incredible example of staying loose under heavy match pressure. Lane and Jackson won that game, although eventually losing the match.


#1S - Byeong Min Lim - 6-4, 6-1 - Hudson Kay (12)
#2S - Ethan Lapp - 4-6, 2-6 - Evan Beck (12)
#3S - Jacob Gonsalves - 2-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5 - Simon Myers (10)
#1D - Simon Hurst/Brandon Nguyen - 3-6, 2-6 - Luke Rush (12)/Logan Troyer (11)
#2D - Jackson King/Lane Miller - 6-4, 3-6, 2-6 - Hugh Birky (11)/Jacob Grewe (11)

Junior Varsity
#1SJV - Daniel Robles - 5-8 - Giovanni Aguayo (12)
#2SJV - Liam Bradford - 4-8 - Drake Crowder (9)
#3SJV - Tommy Nguyen - 1-8 - Wes Beck (9)
#4SJV - Dustin Miller - 8-0 - Nathan Burns (11)
#1DJV - Dustin Miller/Jonathon Yousey - 2-8 - Bobby Sessa (11)/Nathanael Wertz (11)
#2DJV - Paul Krabill/Braydon Harshberger - 0-8 - Dirk Oyer (12)/Diego Torres (9)
#3DJV - Philip Krabill/Jonah Farran - 5-8 - Gabriel Castro (12)/Ben Bontrager-Singer (9)
#4DJV - Jonathon Yousey/Paul Krabill - 8-2 - Austin Peeler (9)/Anton Pham (9)

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