Friday, September 18, 2015

Prayers from Blackhawk Christian

Match Description
This was a wonderful match for our senior night. Celebrating Ethan and Paul was certainly the highlight of the evening, but the match was fun as well. It was the type of win where we were challenged and had to play good tennis to win, and yet it felt like we were going to do that. Even when things looked difficult, we kept up hope and kept on trying. It was another night of amazing growth.

The matches were so crazy different too. Byeong played one of the first players of the whole season who constantly attacked him. Again and again, senior Jared Fiedler would hit a big serve, look for a big forehand and then approach the net. In the first set, Byeong had to adjust to the serve, but then was able to cruise through the set. In the second, Byeong's returns started falling softer and shorter, and Fiedler attacked with approaches skimming over the net. Byeong went down 2-5 before he found his stroke again. Tying it back up at 5-5, Byeong found a rhythm of serving and striking the groundstrokes that prevented the relentless attack. In the second set tiebreak, Byeong also was able to secure the big points by nailing some angled winners and deep balls that forced errors.

At the other #1 position, things rolled along smoothly. Brandon and Simon found an aggressive rhythm early in the match and rarely had moments of tension. They were smooth and attacking, and most importantly - simple!

#2 doubles found the importance of simplicity as well. After trailing most of the first set, including facing several set points against them, Jackson and Lane figured out the keys of simple doubles. Be in the right spot, expect the ball to come to you, and then hit the shot that puts simple pressure on your opponents. With that formula, they reeled off 7 straight games to capture the first set and then take a 3-0 lead in the second. When the Braves increased their aggressiveness, Jackson and Lane were tempted to panic. But they stayed simple and finished the match off with some great tennis.

#3 singles, Jacob Gonsalves played a very interesting type of opponent that he hasn't seen much this year, a power player. Freshman Ethan Yourdon has a promising future, already owning a dynamite serve and some good looking groundstrokes. They just didn't go in enough for the Braves' #3. We kept stats on the match, and Jacob was able to control the error count, only making 13 errors to his opponent's 33. This allowed Jacob the slight advantage throughout the match, which Jacob won 6-4, 6-4.

And our varsity senior, Ethan Lapp! Ethan played a style tonight that certainly challenged him. Sophomore Drew Hall was a great lefty, skilled at getting the ball back into play as well as hitting great lobs. Ethan has struggled at times this year to stay aggressive, and a baseliner like Hall just makes that tendency want to come out all the more. But in both sets, despite close scores, Ethan pounded away at the ball. He hit excellent volleys behind Hall and finished overheads. It was about as good of tennis as I've seen Ethan play this season.

In the JV matches, when mixed in some guys who haven't had as many chances to play. Jonathon Yousey continued his beautiful improvement on this season, dominating with solid groundstrokes, athleticism and getting to the net. Braydon Harshberger is another player who is getting better quickly, and it showed in his match as well, as he was able to play longer points with good strategy.

All in all, it was a fun night, but the best part was our senior celebration. I love the two guys we have as seniors this year, for their sincerity and hard work. They are men that I would love to see our team model their work ethic and lives after. Ethan Lapp and Paul Krabill have both provided leadership to the team in different ways, but they are both men who are using the gifts that God has given them.

So we ate, laughed, and gave a tribute to these seniors. Cupcakes, cheesy potatoes, and the tennis family was enjoyed by all! Thanks to everyone who was a part of it. I truly appreciate the players and parents of this team!


for Ethan
May the Lord guide your ears, as you use your gifts of listening and wisdom. May you hear the joys and pains of others. May you be attentive to the wise and rejuvenating whisper of God's Spirit. And may you serve others, in the name of Jesus, by bringing God's wisdom and help to many people's hurting lives. May the Lord bless you and keep you!

for Paul
May the Lord bless you for your honesty and sincerity. May you continue to have eyes to see those who need God's love, just as you yourself have found God's love. May you continue to be the friend that comes along beside those who have been ridiculed or left alone. May you enter their darkness with the light of God's love, and be the friend who sticks with them. May the Lord bless you and keep you!

for the team
May our brotherhood grow in Christ. May we encircle each other with the gifts that God has showered on us. May we grow in God's joy! May the Lord bless us and keep us!

Moment of Beauty
These are getting harder, but the most beautiful thing about tonight was the joy that the team shared in our seniors. Gathering around them for prayer, singing Sarasponda and inserting the word "seniors," these were beautiful traditions - both old and new. The brotherhood of this team grows beautifully throughout the season, and night's like this, where we share food and encouraging thoughts, are always highlights of the season for me.

#1S - Byeong Min Lim - 6-3, 7-6 (3) - Jared Fiedler (12)
#2S - Ethan Lapp - 6-4, 7-5 - Drew Hall (10)
#3S - Jacob Gonsalves - 6-4, 6-4 - Ethan Yourdon (9)
#1D - Simon Hurst/Brandon Nguyen - 6-0, 6-1 - Bailey Brouwer (12)/Jospeh Angelo (12)
#2D - Jackson King/Lane Miller - 7-5, 6-3 - Graham Gnagy (10)/Spencer Lee (12)

Junior Varsity
#1SJV - Jonathon Yousey - 6-0 - Levi Mossburg
#2SJV - Braydon Harshberger - 2-6 - Zach Kaufman

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