Monday, August 20, 2018

Knights Varsity Tennis Invitational Report

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All in all, we did a good job in this match continuing to mature and compete. I try to keep my focus on that because in all honesty, the result still feels disappointing. We went to Mishawaka Marian and came away with 2nd place in the tournament. But we were so very close to first.

The Laville match went quickly. We started by 8:55 and were done with all matches by 9:35. But that's because the Lancers only had two players who are continuing to gain experience, but playing at the most difficult positions of #1S and #2S. Liam and Caleb both got 6-0, 6-0 victories in that match.

Then we waited for Marian to finish their match with South Bend Riley. It became clear early on in that match that the Knights would be the victor, but several of the matches were close. By 10:30 or so, we were on the courts warming up for the championship match.

Our doubles teams played well. They've been continuing to learn the meanings of simple aggression, how they can play smart and play the percentages and still put away points. Tonight, simple cross courts, good serves and returns, and proper positioning at the net were enough to do that. I continue to be impressed with the energy that Tyson Miller and Will Nisley bring to their matches, and Jonah Farran and Nathan Oostland looked much more relaxed than I've often seen them.

That meant we had to get one of the singles positions. From the beginning of the match, I thought it would come down to #3S. So when Philip Krabill went to a first set tiebreak, I was anxious to see him win it and get the huge advantage of the first set. Philip took a 5-3 lead in the tiebreak, but tightened up with the finish line in site. He lost the final four points of the tiebreak and fell down a set.

However, hope was not lost. Liam Bradford was playing Josh Bussan, a senior who beat Liam 6-1, 6-2 last year. Most years results hold similar, but Liam was playing this match much closer. Changing speeds and styles of shot, Liam had made the first set a close one, losing 5-7. Then he took a 3-0 lead in the second set. He continued to play really well and smart in the second set, making all the finishing shots that he needed to. He held off a late comeback from Bussan and won the set 6-4. This took us to a deciding third set.

Unfortunately, Philip had never really been able to get back into his match against Marian's #3S. Though Philip was holding his serve well, he was never able to break through on his opponent's. As Liam finished his second set, Philip's serve was broken and he lost his match 7-6, 6-4.

So, the team match came down to Liam. He promptly went out and took the first game, but then became increasingly tight and frustrated. Understandable considering the weight of the team match, but a bummer still. He attempted to swing through it, but Bussan gained confidence as the match went on and found a new strategy to attack Liam with. By the end, Bussan finished off the match by refinding his big serve, and served out a 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 win for the Knights.

So, swept in the singles, we lost 3-2. We are still struggling to find confident ways to finish points in our singles matches. So, I suppose that's where we'll go to work :-)

It was enough that you competed. You controlled the things that you could control. There was no doubt that you were trying, you were giving effort, and that you cared. You gave effort to keeping a positive attitude too. You guys even had good plans. The execution is something that we can't always control. But it is enough that we competed.

You are brothers. You showed it as you waited patiently during the forfeited matches in the Laville match. You joyfully took the court in different doubles and singles pairings and helped each other relax. You carried your joy over into your support of Liam and Philip as they tried to pull off the final victory we needed. You are brothers.

I am grateful for...
- a team that has fun together.
- a team that has grace for each other's weaknesses and "failures."
- a team that lets my oldest son tag along to tournaments without abusing him.
- a team that gets better with each match.
- a team that eats an enormous amount of chips and salsa.
- a team that still encourages.
- a team that has JV players like Joseph, who give their all even in a match they don't get to play.
- a team that are my brothers.

Lord, be enough for me. Don't let me build my worth on wins, or hang my hat on my brilliant forehand or smashing serve. Instead, my worth is in Your love and I'll hang my hat on my response to Your love. Let me enjoy the gifts You give. Let me reflect the love You are. Amen.

Round 1 v. Laville
#1S - Liam Bradford - 6-0, 6-0 - Zach Rutherford (11)
#2S - Caleb Shenk - 6-0, 6-0 - David Clayton (11)
#3S - Philip Krabill won by forfeit
#1D - Nathan Oostland/Jonah Farran won by forfeit
#2D - Will Nisley/Tyson Miller won by forfeit

Round 2 v. Mishawaka Marian
#1S - Liam Bradford - 5-7, 6-4, 2-6 - Joshua Bussan (12)
#2S - Caleb Shenk - 2-6, 1-6 - Dustin Greer (11)
#3S - Philip Krabill - 6-7 (5), 4-6 - Caleb Suarez (12)
#1D - Nathan Oostland/Jonah Farran - 6-2, 6-2 - Charlie Graham (?) / Seth Beeker (10)
#2D - Will Nisley/Tyson Miller - 6-1, 6-2 - Jacob Kramer (10) / Dominic Marazita (?)

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