This was a day that kept seeing our play get better and better as the day went on. At basically every position, we got our games going the longer we played. Unfortunately, we played the best team of the day in the first round. So, this meant a 2nd place finish for the Bruins at the Wabash Invitational.
Taylor defeated us 4-1 in the first round. They are an excellent team, and they beat us at our 2 biggest positions of strength from our season, #1 doubles and #1 singles. Both of those matches were classic battles, #1D split sets and was decided in the third set tiebreak while #1S also included a tiebreak, but didn't reach the third set. Our guys played well in stretches, but Taylor's top positions seemed perfectly suited to put the pressure on our guys. Byeong played seemingly thousands of good shots, but they always seemed to come back to him. Brandon and Simon played very few poor shots, but their opponents anticipated very well, and cut off many shots at the net. In the end, these tendencies ended us in losses.
Ethan Lapp began his perfect day with his easiest match. He stroked the ball deep into the court, hit behind his opponent and overall played a super match. He continued his streaking ways throughout the day, beating all three of his opponents. He has now won 11 of his last 13 matches, and continues to gain confidence going through the season. His play was beautiful to behold on the day. In this first match, he gave us our only point.
At the other positions, we played close matches but couldn't keep our confidence going through the matches. Jackson and Lane at #2 doubles took an early first set lead, but then couldn't stay consistent. They got the match into the first set tiebreak... but couldn't finish it out. Then the couldn't stay positive and lost the second. Jacob stayed confident on his serve throughout his match, but was unable to find the break of serve he needed. So it was a 4-1 loss for our team.
In round 2, we started out tight, probably still feeling disappointment from the first match. Ethan led us out again and took his first set before anyone else even got on the courts. Then Jacob and #2 doubles got started, but neither of those started out well. At one point, we were trailing in the second set of Ethan's match, in #3S and in #2D. It looked like this match might be trouble.
But then we relaxed and started playing the points like we wanted to play them. The biggest reason for that was that Lane got on fire. He all the sudden was an intimidating and consistent force in his match. He has pounded balls at opposing net players, running down lobs. This helped Jackson get his groundstrokes going, and when their first set went to a tiebreak, they took a big lead and never looked back.
By the time #1 doubles and #1 singles hit the courts, things looked a lot better. Ethan had won, #2D had won, and both #1D and #1S took their first sets 6-0. The team finally relaxed, and as we sat together watching the end of these 2nd round matches, it was obvious that the day was becoming fun. We got some snacks from the Lapps, we started to laugh and we watched the third round begin.
The third round was over fairly quickly. #1 doubles and #1 singles quickly finished off their matches and #2 doubles looked well on their way. Ethan at #2 singles won the first set quickly but then had to hold it together to win the tiebreak. Still, those wins put us at 4-0. Lane and Jackson played some of their best tennis of the year against a passive #2 doubles from Eastern. Byeong, Simon and Brandon just did what they needed to in order to take care of business.
We left this tournament feeling good about where our tennis was at. But even better, I think we left feeling good about each other. There's just something about hanging out together, eating together, cheering together that makes the season seem worth it all. And that something is the togetherness. As we wrapped up our regular season, it was good to look around and see who we'd accomplished it with.
for our team
May our team togetherness breed confidence. May it push us toward You. God, You are the source of all of our relationships. Bring us to You. In the name of Jesus we pray!
Round 1 - Taylor
#1S - Byeong Min Lim - 5-7, 6-7 (5) - Camden Kimbler (12)
#2S - Ethan Lapp - 6-0, 6-2 - Colton Kimbler (10)
#3S - Jacob Gonsalves - 4-6, 4-6 - Bailey Ownes (10)
#1D - Simon Hurst/Brandon Nguyen - 4-6, 6-4, (8-10) - Cole Schroeder (12)/Connor Leicht (12)
#2D - Lane Miller/Jackson King - 6-7 (5), 2-6 - Wynn Takacs (10)/Peyton Tracy (10)
Round 2 - Wabash
#1S - Byeong Min Lim - 6-0, 6-2 - Luke Mattern (10)
#2S - Ethan Lapp - 6-4, 7-5 - Taylor Vigar (12)
#3S - Jacob Gonsalves - 1-6, 0-6 - Alex Driscoll (9)
#1D - Simon Hurst/Brandon Nguyen - 6-0, 6-0 - Adam Driscoll (12)/Gage Miller
#2D - Lane Miller/Jackson King - 7-6 (2), 6-3 - Matthew Stein/Austin Black
Round 3 - Eastern
#1S - Byeong Min Lim - 6-2, 6-1 - Ryan Manfred
#2S - Ethan Lapp - 6-2, 7-6 (4) - Isaac Beachey
#3S - Jacob Gonsalves - 6-7 (4), 0-6 - Jacob Kinder
#1D - Simon Hurst/Brandon Nguyen - 6-1, 6-1 - Jake Hartman/Manny Moreno
#2D - Lane Miller/Jackson King - 6-1, 6-2 - Braden Evans/Trey Thomas