Friday night's match against NorthWood was an interesting one, and a lot of that came because NorthWood is an interesting team. They are a young varsity, with three freshman and only one senior, and they are an "old" JV, with 12 upperclassmen among their 16 JV players.
Probably the least interesting part of the match was the varsity result. We played fairly well at 3 positions, and in about an hour we had won the varsity match by building a lead of 3-0. Byeong had played one of his best matches of the season, and was able to bring home a quick victory. Brandon and Simon wrapped up quickly as well playing composed and confident tennis. And Lane and Dustin, playing against a strong #2D team, were able to wrap things up in two sets this time :-) They also did this just in time, as the rain starting falling while they were wrapping up the final game of the second set.
But it was the rest of the match that proved to be intriguing. In the JV match, we pretty much either won matches easily or lost them easily. The exception to that rule was Caleb Shenk (and Jackson). Caleb actually played to tiebreak matches on the day. But other than that, we either won big or lost big.
And the scores didn't always reflect the way we played. I thought Joel Yoder had one of the best matches of his career. He moved around the court well, he served well, he was consistent with his forehand. Still, he couldn't close the gap of his match and lost 2-8. Nathan Oostland and Jacob Woolace played an awesome match, and they too couldn't seem to find ways to close out points and games. And that could be said of many others in the JV match.
In the varsity match, Jonathon has really started to play some good points. He traded games back and forth with his lefty opponent throughout the night, but couldn't seem to find the finishing touches. He had great points from the net, putting pressure on the Panther singles player. He lost a close match, 4-6, 5-7.
And the strangest match of all, #3 singles. Lucas played poorly out of the gate in the match, going down 2-5 early. After fighting back to 4-5, he lost a game that probably took 10-15 minutes to play and also set the tone for the rest of the match. Feeling under pressure, Landon Holland took to a strategy that he was comfortable with and played well, but that strategy was hitting moonballs. That means if he ever felt like he was in trouble in a point, he would hit a skyward lob that would usually force Lucas back toward the fence. It is a style that minimizes errors and puts pressure on your opponent to make shots and be aggressive.
Lucas tried, but ended up falling in the last game of the set. After a quick lost game to open the second set, Lucas fell into a rhythm that would prove to last the rest of the match. Taking his time, Lucas lobbed or hit safe balls back when he was lobbed and played more aggressively when he could. Lucas still some errors, but he began to force some from Holland as well. It was a fun match to watch, with long intense points and lots of cheering. Lucas stayed very well composed and took the 3 set victory. But the match took over three hours, ending at 7:56 PM.
Then we watched Caleb wrap up his second tiebreak of the night. His opponent was similarly a challenge because a quirky style of play where he hit topspin forehands but only hit slice for his backhand. Caleb struggled to close out the match in regulation, but won the tiebreak 7-1.
At the end of the day, my thought was that this match was equitable. It was fair. Those of us who have worked hard in the offseason and are bringing a focus to practice, we played well and competed today. Those of us who have been up and down with focus, we were up and down during this match.
So, we want to continue to work in practice. We want to continue to focus. We want to continue to improve. So that when we play again, it will be equitable, and we will play with the good form, good strategy and good confidence that we continue to earn.
#1S - Byeong Min Lim - 6-0, 6-0 - Jared Hoffman (11)
#2S - Jonathon Yousey - 4-6, 5-7 - Wes Troyer (9)
#3S - Lucas Brownsberger-Keyes - 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 - Landon Holland (9)
#1D - Simon Hurst/Brandon Nguyen - 6-2, 6-1 - Cam Stillson (12)/Brant Mast (11)
#2D - Lane Miller/Dustin Miller - 6-3, 6-4 - Trevor Klotz (11)/Jack Wysong (9)
#1SJV - Daniel Robles - 8-3 - Gerd Matamoros (11)
#2SJV - Liam Bradford - 8-2 - Nick Shenk (12)
#3SJV - Tommy Nguyen - 1-8 - Tanner DeMien (11)
#4SJV - Joel Yoder - 2-8 - Chase Horner (9)
#5SJV - Philip Krabill - 1-8 - Dawson Bley (10)
#6SJV - Caleb Shenk - 9-8 (1) - Jacob Mestach (11)
#1DJV - Jackson King/Caleb Shenk - 8-9 (5) - Breyden Stankovich (12)/Trajan Schwartz (10)
#2DJV - Jacob Woolace/Nathan Oostland - 1-8 - Taylor Miller (12)/Grant Topping (10)
#3DJV - Braydon Harshberger/Jonah Farran - 1-8 - Jacob Stonger (11)/Chandler Gillam (12)
#4DJV - Daniel Robles/Angel Torres - 1-8 - Brennan Yoder (12)/Stonewall Craft (12)
#5DJV - Jacob Woolace/Chris Craw - 8-1 - Tyler Hahn (11)/Matt Checkley (12)