Archive for March 28th, 2009

28
Mar
09

brandeis slides past women’s team

After a tough, but solid win by the men’s team, it was time for the women to take to the slick Brandeis courts. The women had seen how fast the ball was coming off the courts during the men’s match, but it is different playing and having to make adjustments. It took a few games for the #1 doubles team of Alex and Caryn to adjust, as they got down a break early. They did a great job of fighting back and trying to find a rhythm, but after getting the score to 5-5 their opponents picked up the level of play and were able to capture the match. At #3 doubles, Meg and fellow freshman Elizabeth had great energy in their first match playing together. Many of the games were close, but the young women couldn’t find a way to get the big points to go their way against their more seasoned opponents. As both #1 and #3 doubles were finishing, Erika and Brooke were locked in a battled at #2 doubles. Both the Bates and Brandeis women played at a high level and refused to even give an inch as they entered into a tiebreak. Erika and Brooke got up early 3-1, but then the Brandeis women came storming back. After holding off one match point, Brandies won the tiebreak 7-4 to take a 3-0 match lead.

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As singles started, like usual Caryn was playing one of the top women from the region. It was obvious her opponent felt more comfortable on her home courts, as almost every rally ended with a winner by one of the women. At #2 singles, Alex was playing a tough opponent in Gabrielle Helfgott, but hit great shots in key moments to win the first set 6-4. In the second, like most strong players, Gabrielle picked up her play and forced it to a deciding third set match tiebreak. In tiebreakers like this it is all about finding a way to win, and competing harder than your opponent. This was something we talked about as a team all week, competing to the max on every ball. Alex exemplified exactly what we had been working on. She did whatever it took to get one more ball back in play, and won 10-4 in the third. She showed great leadership to the young women on this team by the way she competed and continued to keep her composure in a pressure situation.

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Even though losses are never fun, as long as we learn from them they can be beneficial. We played great against Middlebury, but couldn’t find a way to win a match. Once again, the ladies played extremely hard, and this time we got at least one victory. It may not seem like much, but it shows we are making positive steps. The Cats hoped to continue taking steps forward on Thursday against Bowdoin in Merrill Gym at Bates. 

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28
Mar
09

men wrap up perfect weekend

The men’s team had two matches last weekend, starting with a tidy win against the University of Southern Maine here at Bates last Friday afternoon. The guys lost a total of five games on their way to a 9-0 victory. The next morning it was time to head south on I-95 once again to play Brandeis University. Brandeis is not an easy place to play, as the Bobcats found out two years ago when they left with a loss. The slick courts there usually give the home team an advantage because of how fast the ball travels on them, but this time the Cats were ready for it.

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Breaks are not easy to come by during the doubles on a surface that allows for such fast serves, but somehow the #2 team of Ryan and Max were able to get several on their way to a speedy win of 8-1. Stein and Amrit got the one break they needed early and followed it up with strong holds to win 8-6. Even though it took Fenno and Jeff a while to catch up to the serves, they continued to serve well and finally found the shots on the return to earn an 8-4 victory. The biggest game of the match was during Jeff’s second service game. The guys came back from 15-40 with big serves from Jeff and aggressive net play from Zach, finally pulling it out after several deuces. This kept them on serve and the ended up getting the first break a couple games later. It always feels good to be up 3-0 after the doubles, but the guys knew the singles would not be easy, so keeping the intensity up was a huge part of the speech before singles.

dsc00630Stein, playing in front of a large Bates crowd thanks to all the parents and family who traveled to see the Cats play, frustrated his opponent by moving him all over the court. Ben’s serve was really hopping which allowed him to get into net and put away the point with his strong volleys. While Stein was dispatching his opponent rather quickly, both Max and Amrit were locked in tight first sets. Max came through to show his grit at just the right time when he was down 4-5 with his opponent serving for the set. He found a way to get the break, then hold serve, then break again to win the first 7-5. His opponent was never really able to regroup, and Max won the second 6-1. That match clinched the victory for the Cats, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell by the way Amrit was battling on court 2. Amrit won a closely contested first set in a tiebreak, but to his opponent’s credit, the second set was just as tough. A few shots didn’t go his way and Amrit ended up losing the second 7-5 as most of the Brandeis cheered on. As we all expected, Amrit’s experience and mental strength came through as he recovered to dominate the match tiebreak, 10-4.

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Ryan and Reiss were on court and could hear the cheers of Amrits win, giving them even more energy to find a way for their own victory. Ryan came out of the gate on fire, barely giving his opponent time to hit the ball in the first set, winning it 6-0. In the second, he cooled off somewhat, but still hit the big shots on the big points to get the second, 6-4. Even though he didn’t plan on it, Reiss gave us the most entertaining match tiebreak many of us can remember. After winning the first easily and losing the second 7-5, it came down to the match tiebreak, with the winner being the person to reach 10 points first. Reiss did a great job of handling the nerves and held off two match points on his way to a 15-13 victory. This meant the Cats would head back to Bates without having lost a match all weekend. For a coach, this was the exact response we needed after a tough loss last week at Middlebury. The guys look forward to getting back on court at Tufts on Friday afternoon at 3pm. We hope to see just as many fans there as we had at Brandeis.




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