Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Prayers from Laville

Match Description
This match was a really fun way to start our week. With 8 matches in the next 8 days, we need to find ways for our players to get some rest this week and get some practice. So we had to play this match with a modified lineup. That meant that our JV guys got a chance to play some varsity competition. It was fun to watch these players compete, and play longer matches, and win.

One of the most enjoyable matches for me to watch was Daniel Robles playing #2S. The effort Daniel gives and the way that he competes is something I'd love to transfer over to each player on the team. In the first game, Daniel mostly stuck to the baseline, and his sophomore counterpart, Cam McDaniel, did the same. It was a long game, going to multiple deuces as they played similar consistent styles. At the fence after Daniel pulled out the game, I suggested that he see what happened when he attacked the net. First point of the next game, Daniel hit an approach and came in. The pressure caused McDaniel to strike the ball long. Daniel repeated the strategy, and found a new style to win points quicker in this match, which gave him the advantage.

I also loved watching Liam Bradford, who plays matches with a great instinct for strategy. He seems to know just when to keep the ball in and when to go for a big shot. Playing against a senior, he held control of his match, most of the time. But even when he got behind in the second set, he continued to play smart tennis. He made the adjustments needed (mostly moving forward quickly) and took the final four games of the set.

At the doubles positions, we played with simplicity and controlled aggression. We didn't hit stupid shots, but are beginning to learn about playing the percentages. I loved the resulting play, as we made simple cross-court volleys, returned with consistency, and set ourselves up for overheads and putaway volleys.

And I loved that after the match, some more of the JV guys got to have some close matches against each other. It was a laid back night for the Bruins, which is a fun change of pace. Now, on to some more intense fun!

for the team
I pray that the loose feeling of the matches and practice tonight continues to fill us as we play closer matches. I pray that nights like this will be the basis of smiling. God, I continue to pray that tennis be the fun and exciting gathering point for the team, where we begin to come together. As we come together around each other and around this activity, let us then look to You.

for Ethan
I pray that Ethan will begin to find his serve, and with it his full confidence. God, You've given him the talents of listening, but as he has taken leadership, I feel like the weight of each match ends up feeling like it is on his shoulders. Take that off of him, let him come to You and the others without pressure, and then... let him serve well :-)

for the team
Lord, let us find an honest way to be focused and to improve. I thank You for those on the team who understand the importance of focus, and I pray that they become a vocal example to those who don't. I so desire the character of this team to be like You: prepared, faithful, focused, and honest. And so much more. Help us to grow in that, because we aren't there yet. We're moving in that direction, please meet us on the way.

for Simon
I pray that his joy will overflow into our team this year. I was so happy to watch him stay after the match last night to hit, practice, and smash some tennis balls. I pray that his sheer and savage joy in hitting a moving object will become a characteristic of the whole team. God, fill us all with joy!

Moment of Beauty
Ethan had one of the coolest points of the year in this match. First, he hit a rope of a forehand crosscourt, landing about a foot inside the sideline. His opponent Dustin Royer, a lefty, looped back a backhand into the middle of the court. Ethan stepped up and inside-outed a forehand that landed right on the opposite corner, on the sideline and the baseline. At full sprint toward that forehand corner, Royer scooped it just before it hit the ground and put it back softly behind Ethan's service line. But Ethan stepped in again and smacked a forehand crosscourt, for a second time landing it right on the sideline and baseline. At full speed again, Royer this time couldn't catch up to the shot and Ethan got his winner.

At #2D, Jonathon Yousey got his match off to a savagely joyful start. In the first game, Dustin Miller's serve to the deuce court forced a weak return from the Lancers. Jonathon stepped into the middle and hit a shoulder height volley with good force, right through the legs of the opposing net player. The Lancer at the net tried to jump, spin, and still get his racket down, but the shot was too quick. It was the way doubles is supposed to be played. Quick, simple and aggressive. Lane and Jackson had a point just like this on Jackson's serve, where Lane leaped to a high backhand volley and struck right through the gap between the net player and returner. I love these points, but because Jonathon was first, he gets the "Byeong."

#1S - Ethan Lapp - 6-0, 6-0 - Dustin Royer (12)
#2S - Daniel Robles - 6-1, 6-1 - Cam McDaniel (10)
#3S - Liam Bradford - 6-0, 6-3 - Leo Martinelli (12)
#1D - Jackson King/Lane Miller - 6-1, 6-1 - Brandon Haisley (12)/Erik Eggebrecht (12)
#2D - Dustin Miller/Jonathon Yousey - 6-0, 6-0 - Connor Carlisle (11)/Robert Clingaman (10)

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