Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Prayers from Triton

Match Description
On a gorgeous Saturday morning, before the rains hit and before it got steamy hot, our team went out and took care of a match that could have gotten tricky. We'd had two rather easy wins this week, and then a week of practice where we focused on adding and improving pieces of our games. In those circumstances, players strokes can actually get worse before they get better. And add onto that the fact we were playing on a Saturday morning, and some difficulty could be expected.

The thing that made me proud was that the difficulty happened, but the players attitudes and energy minimized it. They encountered the errant strokes, the lack of footwork, and the good strokes of determined opponents. But they met this with a smile, with a joyful response, with a willingness to work, to think and to change.

In most matches, we split the first two games of the first set. For Byeong, Brandon, and Simon, that was enough to kick them into gear. They both dropped the second game of the match and then won 11 straight to finish off 6-1, 6-0 victories. Their seasons are off to great starts, and staying engaged with their feet and forward energy was an early challenge for them.

At #2D, Lane and Jackson seemed to find a stride pretty quickly as well. After struggling with consistency early, they started to put a lot of balls in the court and become aggressive as well. At #3S, Jacob Gonsalves had fairly simple work, continuing to work on his one-handed backhand that we now hope will become a thing of beauty.

Which left, for the varsity, Ethan Lapp. Ethan started out poorly, missing shots, missing volleys, missing chances to attack and attacking too much all at once. He trailed 4-1 in the first set, when we met at the side of the court to adjust some strategy. It worked. Ethan suddenly looked like the dominant player out on the court, winning the first set with 5 straight games. He continued the streak in the second set to a 5-0 lead, lost one, and then closed it out. He accomplished this streak by paying attention to the depth of his aggressive shots, which was a great strategy. That gave him easier balls to finish at the net.

In the JV match, Triton only had 1 extra player. Daniel Robles and Dustin Miller finished with the same scoreline against him. 8-0. So no early struggles there :-)

So, a 5-0 win for the varsity and we're to 7-4 on the season. A 2-0 win for the JV and suddenly they are 6-2-1. It's shaping up to become another good year for the Bruins! As long as we keep getting better...


for Jacob
Bless his recovery, God. Bring him quick and sustained healing for his hand. May You take the unfortunate accident and redeem it for something meaningful and good, like You do. Thanks God!

for Jackson
Lord God, please bless Jackson with the confidence he needs. He has worked hard, I pray that you give him energy and confidence that flows into his movements and strokes on court. I pray that you give him energy and confidence that flows into his interactions with Lane. I pray that this confidence is exuded on the court and in practice, and that it lends a whole new attitude to the team.

for the team
Thanks God! It was a beautiful morning to spend with this awesome group of young men. They are strong, funny, sincere, concerned about one another... all the marks of men who You call to follow You. I thank You that I have the privilege of watching them grow, and the privilege of having them challenge me to grow as well. Fill us with joy for the time we get to spend together!

for where we are struggling
God, as the season goes on, we get relaxed and it is easy to look over the spots where people are still struggling. Those may be struggles in relationship with You. Maybe struggles with studies. Maybe struggles with other relationships. Maybe they are struggling with something bigger - doubt, apathy, fear or anger. You are the great healer, and I know there are those who need great healing. Give them new life, in the name of Jesus.

for joy
Jesus, fill our hearts with joy, hope and love! Amen!

Moment of Beauty
Today's first moment of beauty goes to Ethan Lapp. Ethan made a wonderful comeback in his match, concentrating on the type of shots he wanted to hit. He had one sequence that was awesome. His opponent, Mace Eads, hit a softer ball into the center of the court. Ethan laced a cross-court forehand into the corner, which Eads sprinted out to and lofted a soft return. Shuffling forward to the backhand, Ethan confidently struck the ball right back down the line, into the same corner. Eads had been expecting a cross-court shot, so he was wrong-footed and just turned and clapped his racket as he watched Ethan's winner.

It's also beautiful to watch the things we've been working at come into fruition. I saw several of those tonight. Byeong had two aces tonight, as we've been working on his bigger serve. Jacob cut down the number of double faults significantly, as we've been working on his second serve. And Simon, well, I put the pressure on Simon tonight. We've been working on dealing with difficult situations, so I demanded that in the last game of his match, he try something new. He did, but he went down 0-40 in his service game. I was so excited to see his response, because all week we've been working on mental toughness. He responded with 4 great serves in a row to give himself and Brandon a match point, which they converted. It was beautiful to watch these things from practice be put into practice in true competition.


#1S - Byeong Min Lim - 6-1, 6-0 - Gavin Eads (12)
#2S - Ethan Lapp - 6-4, 6-1 - Mace Eads (11)
#3S - Jacob Gonsalves - 6-1, 6-1 - Aaron Stichter (9)
#1D - Simon Hurst/Brandon Nguyen - 6-1, 6-0 - Dalton Bailey (12)/Keygan Moiser (10)
#2D - Jackson King/Lane Miller - 6-2, 6-0 - Brenden Damron (12)/Chase Butler (9)

Junior Varsity
#1SJV - Daniel Robles - 8-0 - Augusto Salgado (10)
#2SJV - Dustin Miller - 8-0 - Augusto Salgado (10)

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