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VARSITY MATCH REPORT
At #2D, I was impressed by the energy that Will and Tyson keep through every match. They went through some stretches of poor play tonight, where double faults or lazy errors plagued every other point. But they would regroup, smile and go back at it. That takes teammates caring for each other, believing in each other, and trust. I was glad to see that in their victory.
At #1D, Jonah and Nathan really hit the right shots at the right times. And they were shots that they would not have been confident in at the beginning of the season. Jonah actually controlled the net well, volleying through the middle of his opponents and uncountable number of times. And Nathan used simple baseline shots to put the Eagles under pressure. Our weaknesses are becoming areas that are much more solid.
At #3S, Philip struggled a bit in the first set. His shots were a bit wild, he was going for too much in difficult situations, not enough in easy situations. He was just a little off. But I was impressed at how well he picked it up to finish off a close first set (he had led only 4-3 at the end) and then carry the good play and momentum through a not as close second set.
At #2S, I loved how Caleb responded to pressure. After winning the first set 6-1, Caleb experienced the second set lull that happens to so many players. His opponent found some momentum and built a 2-1 lead with the chance to take it to 3-1 on serve. The 1-2 game was long, and Caleb hit some not so great shots and balls that were just barely out. But he kept swinging. After a long game, Caleb broke for 2-2, and then served an excellent game to 3-2. From there on he didn't look back. He had refocused in a loose and easy manner.
And #1S was probably my favorite match of the night. Liam played an opponent who was very similar to him. In fact, when the match started I was worried that these guys could play all night as they both excelled at stroking the ball in and extending points. But Liam was actually very aggressive in the first set, mixing things up, playing with some power, whipping some forehands and attacking returns. He won 6-2, and then he too experienced the second set lull. His shots weren't as sharp and suddenly he started going for less. He didn't hit the big forehand but relied exclusively on lobs and dinks. Those are effective when they are mixed in, not so much when they are the only shots you are hitting.
And his opponent took advantage, becoming the aggressor. Liam fell into a 1-3 hole in the match, that he had to dig out of if he didn't want to go to a third set. But this seemed to make him more nervous and timid, and though he had great effort... the results weren't there without the aggressive shots. So we talked, and he responded. I reminded him to hit the big forehand, and he whipped it back out. Down 5-6, Liam forced a tiebreak, then played very confidently through it. Tied at 3-3 and switching sides, Liam controlled the next four points with slice, topspin, lobs and passing shots. He won all four to take the tiebreak.
It takes effort, attitude, and a plan to stay energetic, work on weaknesses, close out sets, respond to pressure and adjust when the match is tight. I saw that from the guys tonight!
JV MATCH REPORT
The rest of the lineup kept that theme. Josh zoomed around the court and forced his opponent to hit a lot of shots, until an error occurred. I especially liked Josh's confidence when his opponent came to the net. Josh didn't freak out and hit some great passing shots. #1DJV of Joseph and Chris had a confident match as well, where they hit some really smart shots that created separation in the final score.
The matches that really impressed me though were the last few on. Theo and Sam were matched up against Fremont's #1 and #2 players on the JV, and they competed admirably. Theo really had his forehand working tonight and forced all sorts of errors while Sam shots had more consistency.
Jim and Angel played awesome. When these two are in the right positions, their swings are excellent. I loved watching Jim spin forehands and backhands away, but my favorite points were his putaway volleys. And it was Angel's first match of the year, so watching him progress has been great.
And Jacob Leininger played his first singles match. I loved to watch him respond to coaching as well.
The final two matches to end were #2DJV and #4SJV. Both of those matches were ones that we were down in, 3-7 at #2DJV and 4-7 at #4SJV. With our backs against the wall, Matthew, Austin, and Josiah all didn't give up. They worked to keep more shots in. To slightly change their plan. Josiah began to move quicker to his forehand. Matthew adjusted his forehand to take a little pace off. Austin decided to just use his second serve as his first serve was not working well. Matthew hit simpler volleys at the net. Josiah got pumped up and called out "Let's go!" and the whole team echoed him. And both positions made great comebacks to get to tiebreaks.
Playing side by side, the tiebreaks were exciting. But unfortunately, we got a little tight and got nervous in the tiebreaks (and maybe got caught in going for too much, too soon in some of the points). But I was really proud of the effort it took to not give up, and to get to that point.
All in all, a great effort from our JV. We want to continue to improve, but we used our strengths well.
IT WAS ENOUGH
It was enough tonight to see many players get to experience the joy of winning together. It was enough to sing. It was enough to know that even those that didn't win had the support of their teammates around as they battled through close matches and tiebreaks. It was enough to pat them on the shoulder and smile. It was enough!
YOU ARE BROTHERS
You are brothers. And others notice it. Last night, I happened to hear a Fremont fan remarking how after the varsity came off, they went to watch the JV guys and cheer for them. That doesn't always happen with all teams, and this fan thought it was awesome, something to aspire to. I agree. When we show real support, up and down the line, we make this team something special, something more than tennis. Thanks for doing that last night, for being brothers.
I am grateful for...
- all sorts of improvement.
- being done with one of our long drives of the season.
- Liam's coachability in this match.
- Josiah, Matthew, and Austin's great comebacks.
- all of our players getting to play.
- a gorgeous evening for playing tennis.
- the concentration we had tonight.
- Caleb's serving.
- Josh's hard work getting the reward of victory.
- many people's willingness to take photos, they make these reports fun.
- not getting to my house at 10:00, but by 9:42 :-)
- Sarasponda :-) Ret set set...
Lord, thanks for a great team. You've filled our school with excellent individuals, students who I admire - their skills, their thoughts, their effort. But this team is filled up with guys that I really like, who care about doing the right thing not just their own thing (most of the time). Keep us moving in that direction.
#1S - Liam Bradford - 6-2, 7-6 (3) - Quest Crotty (12)
#2S - Caleb Shenk - 6-1, 6-2 - Luke Chilenski (12)
#3S - Philip Krabill - 6-3, 6-0 - Ethan Bock (9)
#1D - Nathan Oostland/Jonah Farran - 6-2, 6-2 - Nick Miller (9)/Josh Sherbondy (9)
#2D - Will Nisley/Tyson Miller - 6-1, 6-1 - Nick Rutherford (10)/Evan Towns (10)
#1SJV - Braden Bohn - 8-2 - Alex Chilenski (9)
#2SJV - Aaron Shenk - 8-2 - Isaac Hershey (9)
#3SJV - Josh Cartwright - 8-0 - Jake Allman (9)
#4SJV - Josiah Schlabach - 7-8 (3) - Connor Trobaugh (9)
#5SJV - Jacob Leininger - 2-6 - Sam Verdin (9)
#1DJV - Joseph Mounsithiraj/Christopher Craw - 8-1 - Sam Verdin (9)/Lucan Lennen (10)
#2DJV - Matthew Dyck/Austin Shenk - 7-8 (3) - Charlie Peet (10)/Lukas Berlew (9)
#3DJV - Theo Siemens-Rhodes/Sam Setiawan - 4-6 - Alex Chilenski (9)/Isaac Hershey (9)
#4DJV - Angel Torres/Jim Lyu - 6-2 - Lucas Lennen (10)/Jake Allman (9)
#5DJV - Jacob Leininger/Josiah Schlabach