Sunday, September 16, 2018

Elkhart Central Match Report

This was a difficult match. It was a match where at every position we should have been able to compete, to have close matches. It was a match that was going to come down to which team could make the correct, aggressive shots in the big moments. Who could execute when it was game point, set point, etc.

In each match, we had moments that we needed to make those big shots. But for most of us those points didn't come in the first set. For Liam, Caleb, and #2D, they all started out there matches without much confidence and didn't have very many chances to play these big points. But, with much credit to those three positions, they completely changed perspective for the second set.

But Philip at #3S and Jonah and Nathan at #1D both had their chances to play big points come in the first set. Philip went back and forth with the Blazer's #3. As has been the case in most of Philip's matches, the points were being decided almost exclusively by whether Philip moved well and kept his aggressive shots in. In the first set, he kept his belief and confidence high and hit some great shots and won the set.

#1D went back and forth too. Down 4-3 they came to the pressure point of the set. This is the crucial time where somebody is going to win the set, and it usually comes by being the smart aggressor, or because the other side makes silly mistakes. #1D has become very good at not being the silly mistake making team, but in this match it was Elkhart Central who picked up their play, they found big shots down the line, simple volleys when we hung our returns too high above the middle of the net, and more. So we went down the set at #1D.

Back at the #1S, #2S, and #2D positions, we started the second sets out with much better confidence and belief. The matches were closer, in fact, in the second sets, both Liam and Tyson and Will (#2D) had chances to win their second sets and send them to a third.

Tyson and Will learned a really important lesson about doubles. They learned that it is important to put pressure on your opponents, even when you don't feel 100% confident in your strategy. Down in the set, I asked them to attack the net with abandon. To get there as fast as they could. So they did, and the match flipped around. Suddenly it was the Blazers who were making mistakes. It was Tyson and Will who were getting overheads and easy volleys. This led them to a 6-5 lead in the set on Will's serve. Again, it was an opportunity, but it required them to make the next level of aggressive shot to close out the set. Unfortunately, it was again the Blazers who had the answers. They forced a tiebreak and came up with the big shots in the big moments to win the match in the tiebreak.

Back at #1D, Jonah and Nathan began to play much better, but couldn't quite crack the code of the Blazers. They lost the second set despite putting in really good effort. That left Liam and Philip on the courts playing. Liam was down 5-2 in the second set while Philip was hanging right in there. Liam suddenly found his groove, mixing up the height and pace of the balls that he was hitting. Quickly he affected the rhythm of the Blazer #1, and got right back in the set. Liam also took a 6-5 lead, just as #2D had, and he too needed to hit the aggressive shot to finish out the set. Having ad-in, he had a sitter at the net. He tried a drop shot, but the ball hit the tape. This unfortunately woke up the aggressive side in his opponent, who tied up the match and then won it in the tiebreak.

No doubt, the lesson of this match was to stay smart and aggressive when in pressure situations. The player who does typically wins the match.

Which applies to Philip Krabill, our star who got the only win of the night for the Bruins. After losing the second set, it was decided that #3S would finish with a 10 point tiebreak. Philip took a big lead early in the tiebreak. He did this with great energy and great footwork. When Philip moves to the ball, he is tough to beat at #3S. His shots are just too good. And he took those shots and won the match with those shots. It was a really fun and upbeat way to end.

Braden Bohn continues to sizzle as the season goes on. He pulled in another great performance tonight, which set the pace for the Bruins to win 3 of the 4 singles matches. Josh Cartwright continued his solid freshman season, picking up another win as well. Jim Lyu accounted for the third win in singles, as his strokes continue to get better and more consistent.

At doubles, the ratio was flipped as we lost 3 of 4. The one win came from freshmen #3D, Austin and Matthew providing a very confident 8-3 win. The other matches were close, as Joseph and Aaron held a 5-4 lead in their set and Chris and Theo were right there as well. Our doubles teams at the JV seemed to suffer from a lot of what the varsity did. We need to take and make smart and aggressive shots to close out the games.

It was enough tonight to watch us battle back. It was enough that you prepared well. It was enough that you held your brothers high as they finished out their matches. That is enough.

You are brothers. You gathered around Philip to watch him finish out the varsity's only win. It was awesome to see the whole team move down to the bleachers right next to Philip's court to watch him finish the tiebreak. The whole team helped to give him that positive energy. You are brothers.

I am grateful for...
- not having to go back to Wilderness Experience too soon :-)
- for the ease of coaching you guys and your response to my coaching.
- to the earnest desire to do your best.
- for the comebacks we watched tonight.
- for those who are building momentum toward the end of the season.
- for laughter.
- for each of you, my players!

Lord God, I am thankful for the fight in this team. Give us joy and confidence to go with that effort. Let us feel secure in Your love as well, never outside of the transforming power that holds for us.

#1S - Liam Bradford - 1-6, 6-7 (1) - Philip Stutzman (12)
#2S - Caleb Shenk - 0-6, 2-6 - Zack Pelletier (12)
#3S - Philip Krabill - 6-4, 4-6, (10-6) - Will Bryant (12)
#1D - Nathan Oostland/Jonah Farran - 3-6, 2-6 - Dane Frieden (12)/Nathan Brekke (12)
#2D - Will Nisley/Tyson Miller - 0-6, 6-7 (4) - Nathan Lindholm (12)/Abe Hill (12)

Junior Varsity
#1SJV - Braden Bohn - 8-2 - Spencer Dexter (10)
#2SJV - Josh Cartwright - 8-3 - Matt DeShone (9)
#3SJV - Jim Lyu - 9-8 (4) - Randall Delafuente (9)
#4SJV - Angel Torres - 0-8 - Chase Bontrager (10)
#1DJV - Joseph Mounsithiraj/Aaron Shenk - 5-8 - Josh Reid (10)/Ben Honnick (12)
#2DJV - Chris Craw/Theo Siemens-Rhodes - 3-8 - Sam Thomas (12)/Alexx Dreamer (11)
#3DJV - Matthew Dyck/Austin Shenk - 8-3 - Frankie Yeakey (10)/Grant Brekke (10)
#4DJV - Josiah Schlabach/Jacob Leininger - 2-6 - Frankie Yeakey (10)/Grant Brekke (10)

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