Archive for February, 2012


Men vs #15 Redlands and #5 CMS

The men played Friday and Saturday afternoon against the #15 Redlands Bulldogs and #5 CMS Stags. The Bobcats played hard in doubles, but the Bulldogs were a little better today, and took all three with one break in each match

. The Bobcats bounced back in singles, playing close matches across the board. #2 Matt Bettles suffering a hip injury got off to a slow start down 3-0 in the first set. He turned it up from there but still dropped the first 7-5 as his opponent Nick Cummins ripped backhands and played a strong first set. Matt wasn’t done yet though, and fought through the pain to claim a 90 minute set 7-5 getting a hold and a break at 5-5 to seal the set. In the third set breaker Matt showed why he was an All-American last year. The junior played long disciplined points, mixing up slice with heavy top spin to create short balls on which to attack. Cummins kept things close but on the big points Matt rose to the occasion and played the points like a veteran for the clutch 11-9 win.

The Bobcats other win came at #3 for Rob Crampton. Similarly to his Santa Cruz match, Rob had a long first set with both players very consistent from the baseline and he lost a long 7-6(7-5) tie-breaker. In the second Rob played  more aggressively and attacked the net more and won it 6-3. Rob’s tie-breaker was just as exciting as Matt’s, with both playing long points working hard for every ball in a 12-10 win for the Bobcats. At #6 Dylan Reffe had a brilliant effort and fought through full body cramps in a 7-6 6-3 defeat.

Against CMS the Bobcats bounced back from the Redlands doubles with a lot of energy against a very talented Stag squad. Timmy Berg and Pierre Planche were lights out. The pair ripped returns and closed the night with incredible footwork and effort. Their energy on return games also fueled their big serves and the pair quickly claimed and 8-2 victory over one of the best teams in the country.

At #1 doubles Matt and Rob looked like the pair of last spring where they finished #14 in the country. They got off to an early lead against the #10 pair in the country Warren Wood and Alex Lane. However, the Stags didn’t go away and battled through many long deuce games to win the long doubles match over the Cats 8-6. Dylan and Jeff played a tough match at #3 but fell to the Stags in a close one.

The Bobcat singles was highlighted by Timmy Berg’s win at #1. The #35 ranked Berg beat #4 nationally Alex Lane 7-5 6-4 in an absolute dog fight. In the first set, there were 5 breaks. Every game went to deuce but Berg played the big points better and ripped his forehand for the first set 7-5. In the second set Berg’s extra work in conditioning paid off. He still had strong legs and was able to go after his serve the entire second set. Berg would not a face a break point in the second set and worked really hard to get an early break that would be the difference in this match.


At #3 Rob Crampton suffered his first defeat of the season against #12 nationally Alex Johnson . Johnson is very consistent and can really rip his back hand when given the opportunity.Rob lost the first 9 games of the match to start 6-0 3-0 down. When most players would have simply accepted a loss at this point, Rob showed tremendous mental toughness and began a comeback.  He switched into a more offensive mind-set and struck the ball heavier as he attacked the net. He won 6 of the next 7 games and the set 6-4 to push a third set tie-breaker. Both players played well in the breaker but Johnson got off to an early lead and it turned out to be the difference in the 10-7 breaker. The Bobcats played with tremendous energy, and worked as hard as they could on every ball for each other in this match, which will be the mark of this team.


Women’s Match vs #28 Redlands and #7 CMS

After a scenic drive from Santa Cruz to Redlands on Wednesday, the Bobcats matched up against the #28 Redlands Bulldogs Thursday afternoon. The Bobcats fell to 1-1 on the season as the Bulldogs took the match 8-1. The match was much closer than the score as the Bobcats fought well and had many close matches.

At #1 Ele Mandzhukova got off to a slow start and was down 5-2 in the first set. At that changeover she switched gears and made a big adjustment, and really fought for every point, letting go of misses and choosing to stay positive. She won the next 5 games and the set 7-5. In the second set he opponent fought back and took the set 6-4. In the third set tie-breaker Ele moved well and played aggressively, ripping the ball big into safe targets, and willing herself to the win 10-3 in a nearly flawless tie-breaker.

At #6 Lucy Brennan had a similar match. She was down 4-1 in the first set before switching modes and really battling. She won the next 5 games and set 6-4. In the second set her opponent played well and earned the set 6-2. In the third set tie-breaker both players refused to miss, hitting big and deep into safe targets. Unfortunately Lucy came up just short 11-9 in a well fought match. The Bobcats had a few other close matches including Audrey Grauer’s 6-4 6-3 match and Meg Anderson’s 6-2 6-4 match.


On Saturday the Bobcats played the #7 CMS Athenas in what was definitely our best match this spring. In doubles all three teams came with a lot of energy and played aggressively. All 3 matches were very good tennis and the Bobcats hung with their Athena opponents every step of the way.

Singles was no different and the Bobcats played well and had many close matches. At #1 Ele Mandzhukova had a very close match with #1 nationally ranked Kristin Lim. Ele lost, but took more games off Lin at 6-3 6-3 than anyone else this entire year for division 3. At #4 Erika Blauth played a long match and banged winners with her opponent for a good two hours before falling with one break in each set 6-4 6-3. At #5 Audrey Grauer also lost a tough 6-3 6-3 match against her Athena opponent.


Men’s Match vs Santa Cruz

The men’s team kicked off their season against #6 Santa Cruz Slugs on Tuesday afternoon. Play started with doubles and from the very beginning their was a lot of energy from both teams. The tennis was very high quality on all three courts and crowd was very invested in the matches. Bates struck first at #2 doubles with an 8-2 victory from Timmy Berg and Pierre Planche. They simply played great doubles. They served big, popped their volleys, and moved aggressively to put the Bobcats on the board.

At #3 doubles the Slugs grabbed their first point in an 8-4 win over Jeff Beaton and Dylan Reffe. Again, the play was very high level and Jeff and Dylan played with a lot of energy, returning well and playing aggressively. We just didn’t execute on some of our break chances and the Slugs did, overall a strong performance for the Cats. At #1 Matt and Rob got down an early break and that was the difference in the match. They played well and had a lot of long return games, but were unable to break the big serving slugs and came up just short 8-5.

In singles the Cats battled well. At the top three singles spots the Bobcats claimed the first sets, Timmy Berg at #1 won his first set 6-3 over division 1 transfer Devin Nerenberg, bombing in his serve and dictating play with his forehand. In the second set Nerenberg fought back and took the closely contested set 6-4. In the third set tie-breaker, both players stepped it up another level, having long rallies that ceased to end. Berg played great but came up just short 11-9 in a heart breaker.

At #2 Matt Bettles played #46 ranked Erich Koenig. Bettles came out on fire after the close doubles match and got his vengeance. He took a quick first set 6-2, mixing up his spins and working his way into the net. The second set was much closer and Bettles found himself in a tight spot down 4-3. He dug in and played gritty, fighting for every ball and out worked his opponent to take the last 3 games and the match 6-2 6-4.

At #3 Rob Crampton had a battle. That really doesn’t do it justice, but to give you some perspective, Timmy was in his third set before Rob finished his first. The first set lasted at least 90 minutes. The games were long and every point was a battle of wills, both players ripping cross courts refusing to miss. Down 4-5 in the first set, Rob dug in. He ripped his shots even bigger and took the opportunities on short balls to attack. He won the next 3 games and the set 7-5. In the second set he started to cramp and needed to find a way to shorten the points. He mixed up the pace and then would step in and crack the ball when his opponent was off balance. He was striking the ball well and transitioned even better to take the second set 6-2.

Santa Cruz took #4.5.6 to take the match 6-3, but as coaches we could not have been more proud of how we battled. We teach our guys to control the things they can control, such as their footwork, their attitude, and their fight. At all 9 flights we battled hard, for each other, and it was a great thing to see from our team in our first week of the season.


Women’s Match vs Occidental Tigers

The Bobcats dual match season traditionally kicks off with a spring trip to play some of the best teams in the country. This year is no different as the Bobcats traveled across the country to Las Angeles, California for a week of matches. After training hard in the off season the women finally got to showcase their talents in the season’s first match against the Occidental Tigers.

The Tigers are a strong team top to bottom, and had won their first two matches coming into their match up with the Cats. It was 70 and sunny, no wind, and pretty much perfect conditions for a tennis match. The Bobcats huddled up one last time before the match and there was a wave of energy in the circle, we were well prepared, and ready to battle.

Play started with doubles and Erika Blauth and Kristen Doerer started the Cats out on the right foot. Having a year of experience as partners showed, as they moved well off each others shots and closed the net tight. There were some early nerves, but they quickly went away as Erika hit laser forehands and Kristen poached relentlessly at the net. They won 8-1 at #2 doubles. Jacqui Holmes and Lucy Brennan gave the Bobcats their second point with the 8-3 victory. However, the score is not indicative of how close the match was. There were a lot of long deuce games and we won a majority of the big points. The difference in the match was the Cats ability to slow things down when they felt momentum change, and to stick with solid doubles tactics, i.e. pounding the service line cross court, and constantly looking to attack anything weak coming through the middle. At #1 Meg Anderson and Ele Mandzhukova lost a tough 8-5 match. Both teams played well but the Bobcats targets were just off, and though they made a lot of great moves and played aggressively, they just missed on a number of shots. The Tigers deserve credit for hanging tough and never giving anything away.

In singles Ele got some vengeance at #1. She played a very tough opponent but Ele was disciplined and set up points well. Ele’s heavy ground strokes set her up well to move forward, and she played very strategically in her 6-3 6-3 win. At #3 Jacqui Holmes figured out a winning game plan from the get-go and mixed in short chips with heavy deep balls. She kept her Tiger opponent on her heels most of the match and emerged victorious 6-0 6-1. First-year Audrey Grauer won her first dual match and coincidentally the 5th point, sealing the match for the Bobcats! She played a strong baseliner but Audrey was too consistent and used her forehand to dictate play. She overcame a slow start in the second set by hitting more aggressively and it made the difference in her 6-2 6-3 win. At #4 Erika Blauth won 6-3 6-3 in a match much closer than the score. Both players loved to bang the ball, but Erika made the right adjustments in the big games and just gutted it out on the big points. The Bobcats came up short at #2 and #6, but the Tigers are a strong team and their players earned those wins.


Overall it was a great way to start the season. It was our first match of the year and we did a great job adjusting to playing outside and competing in a real match setting. We will be travelling up to Santa Cruz tomorrow to continue training and cheer on the men’s team as they play the Slugs on Tuesday.

February 2012


Bates Tennis Blog