Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Prayers from Northridge

Match Description

This match felt strange from the beginning.

Northridge was a vastly improved team from the team that we had defeated the past two seasons. You don't need to look any further than #1S, where James Dugle had made the jump from #2D a season ago. Or look at #2D, where Eric Firstenberger had jumped from #2DJV last year to win this season at #2D varsity. In general, Northridge is a young and improving team, with good groundstrokes and a competitive nature.

Our team's play seemed a bit unsure at times last night. Especially in positions where we have had a lot of moving up, we just didn't seem confident in executing "the way we want to play." The times of indecision cost us points, created tension and nerves, and gives us a chance to grow.

In each of the matches, we continue to have moments of great success. Ethan grew confident during his second set and ground out long points, trying to take control of the points, trying to stay alive, trying to attack. Byeong Min had great stretches of play where he drove the ball around the court with pace and precision. Jacob Gonsalves began to fight back and find some consistency in the second set. Lane and Jackson fought through some close games in the second set, being points away from tying it at 4-4 and points away from extending it even further.

And then there were moments of hesitancy, moments where we lost our way. Moments where we pushed the ball instead of swinging. Moments where we hit without much movement. Moments that we looked lost out on the court.

Consistency is the mark of a great high school team. Consistently hitting the ball in the court, consistently keeping our energy high, consistently staying alert, consistently hitting through the ball, consistently playing to our strengths, consistently believing in yourself, consistently playing your game plan, consistently giving every effort.

In this early season, we are building our consistency. We are working towards stringing together the moments into a consistent rhythm. We'll get there, if we consistently keep working on it.

In the JV match, we had more consistency than the Raiders. Playing against young (and few) players, we were able to play the way that we wanted to, for the most part. Daniel Robles flew around the court and kept the ball in. Liam Bradford impressed very good effort, playing very smart, moving his feet and keeping the ball in play. Even our doubles team showed that their strokes are becoming more consistent. I was very impressed by our JV play tonight.

for the team...
I pray that we start finding that consistency. I pray that we develop the belief and effort and strokes and confidence that we consistently need. I pray more, however, that we commit ourselves to growth, taking the next step.

for the team...
I pray that we find energy in the difficulties. I pray that we resist the temptation to drop our heads after a loss, but instead find the energy to get excited about our next chance to play. I pray that we stay focused on what this team really has the opportunity to be: a group of brothers enjoying and supporting one another, and pursuing Jesus together.

Moment of Beauty
Ummm... Simon's overheads. In the middle of the second set, Simon got into a great groove with his overheads and probably had a game where he hit three or four of them for winners. Several years ago, when I started this blog, I wrote about a Concord player who smacked an overhead winner on a ball that was going out. I wrote that the confidence with which he hit it was amazing, and I longed for a player on our team who would develop that aggressive confidence. I have that player now :-) Simon an array of overheads, my favorite being one that bounced near the net and Simon crouched to hit an overhead right between the Northridge players. But there were others too! Great overhead night!

Also, Liam had a point last night where he blistered three forehands in a row while his opponent scrambled across the baseline. It started with a regular rally back and forth rather softly. Then Liam's opponent hit a soft ball to Liam's forehand and started toward the net. Liam crushed a low forehand ball that his opponent got to and weakly hit high into the backcourt, then retreated to the baseline. Liam came a bit forward and hit the same low, powerful forehand again, which prompted a similar return. Liam was able to find the same forehand a third time. The final shot skidded off his opponent's backhand, wide and not even over the net. It was a really fun point to watch!


#1S - Byeong Min Lim - 6-3, 6-3 - James Dugle (11)
#2S - Ethan Lapp - 2-6, 4-6 - Simon Gravengoed (10)
#3S - Jacob Gonsalves - 0-6, 3-6 - Logan Corns (10)
#1D - Simon Hurst/Brandon Nguyen - 6-3, 6-1 - Jate Cross (12)/Luke Wogoman (11)
#2D - Lane Miller/Jackson King - 3-6, 3-6 - Alex Gingerich (10)/Eric Firstenberger (10)

#1SJV - Dustin Miller - 8-4 - Drew Wheatley (9)
#2SJV - Daniel Robles - 8-3 - Ethan Siegal (9)
#3SJV - Jonathon Yousey - 8-0 - Mitchell Williams (10)
#4SJV - Liam Bradford - 8-6 - Drew Wheatley (9)
#1DJV - Paul Krabill/Braydon Harshberger - 2-8 - Ethan Siegal (9)/Mitchell Williams (10)

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