I'm always glad to travel over to Angola to begin our season. In so many ways, it feels like returning home. Of course, it's where my wife and I both grew up. The courts where we both played through our high school careers. And we visit Pizza King each time, the restaurant that my wife and I went to after every basketball game and tennis match while we were dating. There are so many familiar things about coming back to Angola.
But I don't remember a time where Angola has had a tennis team as experienced as this year.
On the other hand, we are younger, playing 3 sophomores and a freshman on the varsity throughout this scrimmage. But our challenge in this match was to show grit, a stick-to-it attitude that would allow us to get better even if we weren't winning points, games or matches.
And that was the beautiful thing to watch throughout the night. Even though we only won two positions in the first round of the scrimmage, the guys were excited and ready to compete in round 2. And then when we came back, tired as it got later and hotter, we played with joy in the final round of the match.
Of course, there were disappointments too. We didn't win as many games as we may have wanted to. We didn't always have the greatest attitudes. But these mistakes are opportunities. These are the places where we grow.
All in all, we got loose for the season. We got ready to go. It becomes even more real next week, as the matches truly begin. On to Jimtown!
Climbing Up (Great Moments of the Match)
1st Rung - We only won a couple matches during this scrimmage, but one that I was most proud of was freshman Braden Bohn. My favorite point was when Braden chased down a mishit ball near the net, using all of his grit to get there and slide the ball into the open court. That's the most fundamental part of being a BC tennis player, not being willing to give up.
2nd Rung - Dustin Miller manned the same position all night long, and he played it excellently. My favorite shots were when he played to his strength, zipping across the middle of the net to split the other doubles team with a stinging forehand volley. This was so beautiful because of its simplicity. Being in the right position and making a simple shot.
3rd Rung - Caleb Shenk served the first game of his match, and despite playing for the first time at #1 singles, he handled his nerves well and nailed two aces to open the match. What I loved about Caleb's aces were the ways that he used his legs. He brought his feet together and was able to put that leg energy into the shot.
4th Rung - One of the hardest parts of tennis is responding when things aren't going well. Jacob Woolace started his first match playing really poorly. He could barely get a shot to find the court in the first game, and was obviously dejected when trading sides. But we talked about digging in, about finding the court, and Jacob's attitude turned completely. He responded with energy this rest of the night, and played some of the best tennis on the whole team. That's the resilience I hope for from the whole team.
5th Rung - My favorite point of the night was in Jonah and Tommy's doubles match. I loved it because it put so much of what we've been working on together. The point started with Jonah's serve, and then was basically Jonah sprinting left and right across the court. He covered behind his partner, he consistently hit the ball in, he was aggressive and came forward to the net. And he finished the point by making a smart play, hitting a lob to force both Hornet players to the right side of the court, before guiding a forehand to the open court.
#1S - Caleb Shenk - 2-6 - Jordan Wells (12)
#2S - Liam Bradford - 1-6 - Elijah Wyatt (12)
#3S - Jacob Woolace - 5-6 - Jack Hilyard (11)
#1D - Jonathon Yousey/Dustin Miller - 4-3 - Eric Nofziger (12)/Spencer Griffis (12)
#2D - Will Nisley/Braydon Harshberger - 0-12 - Trevyn Nafziger (12)/Luke Hottell (11)
#1SJV - Joel Yoder - 2-7 - Nick Boyd (11)
#2SJV - Chris Craw - 0-12 - Isaac Wyatt (10)
#3SJV - Braden Bohn - 4-3 - Brad Boyd (9)
#1DJV - Philip Krabill/Jonah Farran - 3-6 - Mark Atha (11)/Brenden Fidler (11)
#2DJV - Joseph Mounsithiraj/Tyson Miller - 1-7 - Ted Brandon (10)/Hayden Boyer (10)
#1S - Jonathon Yousey - 1-5 - Jaxson Davis (12)
#2S - Liam Bradford - 0-6 - Elijah Wyatt (12)
#3S - Will Nisley - 1-8 - Jordan Wells (12)
#1D - Dustin Miller/Jacob Woolace - 4-4 - Eric Nofziger (12)/Spencer Griffis (12)
#2D - Caleb Shenk/Joel Yoder - 1-7- Nick Boyd (11)/Jack Hilyard (11)
#1SJV - Philip Krabill - 2-8 - Brenden Fidler (11)
#2SJV - Nathan Oostland - 3-4 - Mark Atha (11)
#3SJV - Tommy Nguyen - 2-5 - Jergen Berquist (12)
#1DJV - Braydon Harshberger/Chris Craw - 3-4 - Anthony Duvendale (12)/Devin Stiefken (12)
#2DJV - Kameron Branum/Theo Siemens-Rhodes - 3-4 - Isaac Wagner (12)/Lucas Nelson (9)
#1S - Jonathon Yousey - 0-6 - Jaxson Davis (12)
#2S - Liam Bradford - 2-6 - Jordan Wells (12)
#3S - Jacob Woolace - 1-6 - Elijah Wyatt (12)
#1D - Dustin Miller/Caleb Shenk - 2-7 - Eric Nofziger (12)/Spencer Griffis (12)
#2D - Nathan Oostland/Will Nisley - 0-7 - Trevyn Nafziger (12)/Luke Hottell (11)
#1DJV - Braydon Harshberger/Joel Yoder - 2-5
#2DJV - Tommy Nguyen/Jonah Farran - 2-6
#3DJV - Braden Bohn/Aaron Shenk - 1-6
#4DJV - Philip Krabill/Joseph Mounsithiraj - 3-6
#5DJV - Angel Torres/Tyson Miller - 4-4